Thursday, January 31, 2013

And we'll do it again

I confess that on top of apparently not being able to do crafts, I also mess up painting furniture. Oh, yes I do. I have had my share of re-dos, as have many other bloggers.

This is the latest completed re-do.

This is the original.
My most recent re-do was the red card catalog (here). This week I finished repainting my empire dresser and took it to my booth. I really like how it looks now.

I liked the first rendition until I saw the pictures. That's the thing about photos - everything is sharp and in-your-face and no denying anything. Seeing the entire dresser in a picture made me decide .... uhhhh, hmmmmm. The fade-into-nothing diamonds just weren't working. I wasn't using the right paint for the job and the diamonds were too big. Also, the pewter metallic glaze on the trim pieces was way too subtle. It lacked oomph. That was a couple months ago and I just now finished the re-do.

Ahhhhh, so much better.
I thought the stripes on the side added just the right tailored look for this style of dresser.

I didn't do too much distressing. I simply scraped edges with my cabinet scaping tool. I also rubbed dark wax all over, kinda randomly, to age the finish a bit. I used ASCP graphite, and for the trim I mixed that with black craft paint. The light stripes were painted with a mix of graphite and bright white. The pulls are original.

 I was playing around with props. First a green fan then a black fan. This rug or that rug? Funny how taking pictures of finished pieces of furniture turns my house upside down. There were discarded props everywhere. Furniture shoved out of the way, then shoved again when I had to move my tripod. All to make room for the not-going-to-stay-there-anyway piece of furniture as well as the dragged-from-far-corners surfaces and backgrounds. And work lights clamped all over because I don't have real lights yet.

I found this old door by chance and have plans for it in the house. If that ever happens I'll do a post, meanwhile it works as a background prop and excels.

 The dried hydrangeas were a gift from one of my chemo nurses. Aren't they awesome? The perfectly rusted gym basket came from my neighbor, a picker/salvager with the best stuff! When not being a photo prop they sit in the dining room.

My favorite little prop, an old Arctic fan, which is supposed to go to the booth but never will. An alarm cloth and old tin box complete the propping.

How did I get from re-doing furniture to talking about my props? Sheesh, the mind boggles. :-)

I never even got to my incredible traveling floor. Maybe next time.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

If at first you don't succeed.....

I don't know why I feel compelled to write a post about not giving up. Or maybe I do know why. I had the idea to write an encouraging post to all the new crafters out there who are just starting to try the techniques bloggers have been writing about for some time. 

On the surface that's what this post is about. Underneath there are many possibilities. We all have something we struggle with and the idea of not giving up is just as relevant to life's challenges as it is to the crafty projects I'm going to show you here. More so, actually. But let's start with my personal pet-peeves.

Aging a mirror with cracks.
I make acid mirrors all the time. I'm familiar with how the acid works on the silvering so I thought I could do this. The difference in the techniques is basically, when I do an acid mirror I want big blotches of missing silver because I will be gluing fabric behind the mirror. For this project I wanted nice cracks and overlapping silver.

I have followed this tutorial to the T. I swear! The part where she says the silver can be pushed around for a cracked effect is where I'm falling off the boat. I want to push the silver around! That is exactly what I want. Can I do it? Nope.

 See all those pretty cracks? (original)

 See the black areas where I wanted a cracked border around my mirror? For me, the silver just dissolved. There was nothing to push around. Nada.

So I dabbed black paint and tried to repair the damage using Crylon's Mirror Finish spray paint. It might have worked if my borders had remained taped but the acid seeped under the tape. Then the mirror broke and I went back inside and kicked something.

I just want the silver to not melt so I can manipulate it. Okay? geez.

And that leads to the next horror - I mean, project..

Inkjet transfer onto glass or mirror.
I am a handy person. I have a skill set. I can read. I will occasionally follow directions. Yet, I have never, NEVER had success transferring onto glass. And, oh how I've tried. I've wasted way too many transparencies trying to conquer this. And yes, I become very, very cross. Bad language has erupted from my mouth. I know! Who needs that grief?

This is another tutorial that I followed to the T. Repeatedly. And then a few more times.

 It's such a cool effect! And how hard could it be? I transfer onto fabric and wood all the time.

I ended up with gooey ModPodge glass and a pile of wasted transfers. Not a spec of color has transferred for me. I never get a glimmer of hope. It's been a while, so maybe it's time to tackle this project again.
Like I said - don't give up!

Staining glass with food coloring.
Maybe this one was my fault. I should have started with something easy instead of going straight to challenging pitchers. Except I wanted tinted pitchers, not tinted mason jars.

 They are so pretty! (original)

 And here we have "less pretty." See all the blobs and stains? Those shouldn't be there.

Oh this poor pink pitcher! According to the tutorial some blobs and staining are to be expected and an extra 10 minutes or so in the oven will make them disappear. My pitchers were in the oven for FIVE HOURS, people. Five hours. And I got food coloring on the floor. And on the butcher block. I don't know how it happened. I don't remember splashing.

Give up? Nope. I'm going to try mason jars.

Silvering bottles.
I love mercury glass, old mirrors and tarnish on silver. When I saw this short tutorial I was way excited.

 See? Cracking! I want! (original)

Look! No cracking! Color me surprised! 
This was the most interesting technique. Dirt and rust are added to the liquid silver. Dirt and rust. I had to try it! The ratio of dirt and rust must be the key. I ended up with flat silver bottles. Too much dirt? Skimpy on the rust? huh

I'll try again. I have no shortage of dirt or rust.

Then there are the projects that
Just go wrong on their own.

You can't let little setbacks stop you from going on to even greater setbacks. That's how you grow.

Take this mess for instance:

It was a latex stripping nightmare! I had gooey rubber hanging in chunks all over this little table. But had I not pressed on and learned, I would never have known the true horror of painting over freshly stripped mahogany.

Mahogany bleeds through most everything except the toughest primers. I layered coat after coat of paint before I went and asked Google what the heck was going on.

How 'bout when i winged it making chalk paint from complete scratch, using nothing but chalk, glue and water? I ended up with something like bread dough. I threw everything away.

And on and on. We all make mistakes and when you are trying something new, well, they are bound to happen. Just try again later. That's what I have to do. I have yet to conquer the projects above. But I will.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

And more decluttering thoughts

I saw the graphic below on Design Milk and thought SIMPLE? Excuse me? Minimalism simple? Then I saw at the bottom an image stating it is more difficult than it looks. Yessirree, that's the decluttering I'm familiar with.
The difficult kind.

I am still carrying things from room to room. There's GOTTA be a spot for it, right? I just didn't see it the first 20 times.

Here's a bit of a before and after:

August, 2011. What you can't see in this shot are the two boxes of firewood carefully cropped out. Why? Cuz they weren't purdy.

And today. It might not look decluttered but it is a better use of space at least. The firewood isn't an eyesore anymore. The orange box has fireplace items in it that used to be out and unsightly. We use the cubbies for eyeglasses, etc. And my favorite acid mirror is on the wall instead of behind a door somewhere. Plus, the old fan works!

It's progress. I took a carload of treasures to my booth yesterday. I doubt I'll miss them.

Meanwhile, the process continues:
My neighbor came up to help me load a desk in my car and took one look around the house and said, "Geez, Daena, you have your work cut out for you before Mr. Bad gets home.' HA! I say. He's gone for another week. It's the company coming in 3 days that's got me under pressure.

But I can do it! There WILL. NOT. BE. two dressers in the living room when they get here. Or drawers lining the hallway. Or a bookcase sitting on a dry sink, a dry sink that has been dragged to the dining room from the bathroom, by the way. The pile of old wooden shoe forms on the floor will be
displayed properly.

Stuff is forever moving.

I can't help it. I wake up and it seems like my brain is Where the Wild Things Are. Thirty-seven crazy things have to be done RIGHT NOW.

But I'll say Ommmmmmm and ponder this graphic.


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Monday, January 14, 2013

A little decluttering and before and after

Do you know how hard it can be for a junker/picker/collector to declutter? Every singe thing is a treasure! Right? I've carried items around and around the house looking for a better place for them so they wouldn't have to go to the garage, which is the first step in going to the booth.

So I spent a couple days roaming the house, carrying things from one room to another and it worked. The living room looks fresh and new, and that's all I wanted. 

Some before and after ....... way before.

This was my Hutch at First Sight.
I would have never noticed this monster if not for feeling its big, looming presence as I walked by. It's the kind of hutch that swallows people whole. I found out later that friends and family thought I had lost my mind when I brought this giant home. It's so big we had to remove a finial to stand it up in the dining room. (I removed the others shortly thereafter.)

Some rooms can carry a huge black hutch. Not my dining room. It just wasn't a good look. That hutch started me on my furniture painting journey. I sanded the paint off all the raised panels and from the inside and lived with that look for a while, until I just had to do something more. We had the ugliest dining room in the history of forever. Big and dark.

In the shot above I was trying out a new light fixture. It was my first step in redoing the house. See the wallpaper? More on that in a bit.

Has anyone else done this? I cut potential light fixtures out of cardboard and taped them to my existing light to see how they'd work. It actually worked to a point. But I had scraps of cardboard all over the place. 

This is so pathetic and sad: I was thumbing through a decor magazine one day (TEN! years ago) and saw a "before" picture with our exact wallpaper! Good grief. Between the Black-Hole-to-Mordor-Hutch and the embarrassing wallpaper, I had a fire lit under me. I painted everything except 4 chairs. Buh-bye wallpaper.

Today the room is lighter and softer. All the furniture is painted different shades of soft blue-green made from mixing chalk paint until I had what I wanted.

Here's a snippet of how it evolved. First everything was all dark with that oh-so-special wallpaper.

That first burst of Oh Geez I Gotta DO Something got me some nice color but still the room looked a little 'thrown together.' I used to put homeless pieces in this corner so it's always been a mish-mash.

Currently, everything's a bit more 'pulled together.' But still subject to change.

I don't have a before shot of the dining room set but this is what the table looked like, except super shiny. The chairs are a random collection of vintage finds.

For years I wanted to strip that shiny table but it seemed too daunting a task. Then along came Annie Sloan and I only had to strip the top. Yay. I stained it with Dark Walnut then waxed. The legs are Duck Egg Blue and some Sage milk paint. Then light and dark wax.

I recovered all the chairs with feed sacks.

The dining room is now airy and light which is what we needed. We live on the north side of a mountain so we are in shadow a good share of the time. Like all winter.

Then and now.The grate on the left was to cover an unsightly electrical outlet. I think the frames on the right do the job much better. Oh, don't ask me how many million frames I have stuffed in every corner.

 I leaned a few of my old mirrors where I'd had the desk last week, opening up the area between the kitchen and the couch. I have a mirror problem. I can't stop buying old, foxed mirrors. I. Just. Can't.

And who doesn't have metal baskets in the living room filled with door knobs and casters? Right?

My Wonder Horse and two old boxes found a home. That leaves 7-8 old boxes still looking for a spot. 

If, 5 years ago, someone had said "crusty old boxes will be your most prized possessions"  I would have replied 'Wait. Didn't you mean to say Louis Vuittion Damier Azur Speedy? I'm sure that's what you must have meant."

Ahhhh, how we change and reevaluate and reprioritize.

See that brick wall back there? I want to put a floating mantel across there. I just have to figure out what will be safe (and fairly easy) since it will be behind the wood stove. I need something that won't burst into flames.

This is a Wild West classic - a window with a bullet hole in it.

I brought in 3 of my cool old windows, two of which are going into our guest bath.  I was never happy with grouping of mirrors, old signs and metal goodies I had up there. Yesterday I took everything down, spackled and painted the wall. Today we started over.

Chippy perfection.

Check out my scaffolding. Sweet!
I needed to see what the windows would look like and where to position them. Necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

There it is, the work in progress. I carried a hallway full of stuff out to storage so some decluttering was actually accomplished.

I have to get the bathroom done before guests arrive tonight. YIKES!

I'm back to work. Happy Sunday! 

Linking to:
nifty thrifty things
Under the table and dreaming
diy show off
elizabeth and co
home stories a to z
kammys korner
a diamond in the stuff
my repurposed life
funky junk interiors

Monday, January 7, 2013

The three lives of a card catalog.

Once upon a time I dragged home a homely little card catalog because I was desperate to own one. I wanted a card catalog soooo badly but no way could I afford (or find) the big, gorgeous ones. (Of course, soon after, I did find a big one at a rock bottom price.)

I don't have a before picture but it was exactly like the one below but without the knobs. I painted a little table the same mustard color, plopped the card catalog on it and it lived in our office waiting for its 'real' legs. I had a plan, after all.

Not much to look at but it was a bargain!

Finally it got legs and a paint job and it was boring. I painted the legs to match the pulls, why? And the soft green had no spark. But those legs! I worked real hard to get them that awful looking. All my hard work and I'd produced a wallflower.

Then I put it in my booth where it sat all lonely, neglected and overlooked.
Poor card catalog.

 Last week I decided to bring it home and give it a face lift. I was hoping I could get it back to the booth this week, all shiny and new. 

Then a funny thing happened. I thought I'd 'just see' what it would look like ....... So, I shoved some furniture around and rolled the card catalog into place. Hmmmm. Nice pop of color. Maybe I'll leave it there - just for a day or two.

Yeah, right. Insert maniacal laugh here. A couple days. I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon.

It's missing some hardware so I'll have to do some research. First I have to find out what the little round brass thingies that hold the knobs are called. I might also replace the knobs if it isn't too expensive.
Now, since moving furniture has a domino effect, I have to figure out where the displaced trunks I use as end tables will go. yikes

I'm liking the pops of color I'm putting in our mostly neutral great room, the old red and white glider horse and a red industrial shelf. In one corner we have red, in the opposite corner we have green. In the middle is a tan sectional sitting on tan carpet screaming for new throw pillows.

Wandering through it all is me, screaming for hardwood floors. sigh