Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Burn Victim Bookshelf

My husband and I staked a claim on this very sad, beat up old bookshelf that was left behind by a former tenant about 2 years ago.   It was VERY dark, almost black.  But I loved its primitive rustic look and determined to keep it out of the landfill and make it beautiful again. 

There are a few things I find odd about this bookshelf though.  The top has a few rather large cracks in it and it's quite warped.  Also, I think it may have been a built-in at one time (perhaps in an old store) as the crown molding that leads from the shelves to the top is off centre and also the routered edge was amputated making that one side, completely flat.  I can only assume that that side was up against a wall, hence my ‘built-in’ theory.

I was never really intending to blog about this piece, so I neglected to take a before picture.  But it turned out so beautifully when I finished it, that I just had to share. So in lieu of a before picture, I found something similar just to give you an idea of what it looked like, minus the cracks, warping and some of the details etc.  Mine was also much darker, like coffee bean.  But it gives you a general idea.

I always wash my projects down with a TSP solution before beginning to paint them.   I washed and washed but my rag just kept coming black, and I mean BLACK.  I concluded that, that poor cracked and warped top had actually been burnt.  Poor baby!! 

I know chalk paint is all the rage right now and sometimes I do use it.  But on bigger pieces, I don’t really care for the mandatory waxing or clear coating that comes with using chalk paint.   Also, given the burnt top and how dark and old the bookshelf is, I felt a good primer was neccessary.  Now if you ever use primer, you probably know that there are some great products available now.  They’ll seal, block and will even adhere to the slickest surfaces, such as glass.  But really sealing and old piece of wood so it won’t bleed an ugly oily yellow thru your pretty new coat of paint, well that’s a different animal altogether.  I've tried a few different primers, but I always come back to what I feel works best and that’s Kilz.   So I primed with Kilz, and gave that poor burnt top an extra coat or two for good measure.

After the primer dried I 'dry brushed'  the entire piece with white.  If you're not familiar with dry brushing; it's pretty easy.  Just dip your brush into the chosen paint; then scrape it all off and start painting with a 'dry(ish) brush'. You can go in one direction or  every which way, depending on the look your after.  You can keep layering until you get the right look and you can layer mulitiple colours so that each colour will peak thru a bit.  No matter the method, it's results are always beautiful and it instantly adds a graceful patina of age to a piece.  My usual method is to go in the direction of the wood grain.  So, once the entire piece was dry brushed in white, I dry brushed the inside back with a french blue and then a final coat over that with a slightly greener blue.  I love the way the two colours work together.

And here it is.....

and all dressed up with some pretties....
I'm in love with that blue green paint colour combo.........I think you'll be seeing more of that in upcoming blogs!

Thanks for stopping in.


I'm linking to: 

Monday, February 25, 2013

To Chandy or Not to Chandy

I absolutely adore chandeliers, I think most of you do too.  Who amongst us 'home styling bloggers and bloggees' doesn't dream of one day owning a gorgeous vintage french chandy in old gold and dripping with glorious sparkling crystals.  Oopsies.....reality check!!!  That's not in mah budget!!!

Last year I did buy an interesting vintage chandelier for a very good price, that had been salvaged from an old home though.  My plan was always to pretty it up and put it in my booth at the antique market.  When I said interesting, I meant that it has good form, but unfortunately is an ugly dirty whitish grey that does not at all compliment the style or the pretty crystals.

As often happens in my life, this makeover did NOT go as planned.  I always paint in layers to get that rich depth that mulitple colours gives; but normally no more than two or three layers. Somehow this chandy just got the better of me.  I painted, and painted and PAINTED!!!  GAAAH!!

Here it is in it's original finish and with it's crystals already removed.  It actually looks better in this picture than it did in reality. It was just dirty looking and not in the shabby good way.

First coat -  bronze, ewww...toooooo poopy.  Can I say poopy in blog land, is there a secret blogging editor out there that's going to poo poo my blog?  Ha ha...

Anyway, then on to the next layer,  old gold, just a bit more shimmer really; still not quite right!

Then I tried bright gold.  YUCK, appalling and cheap looking!!  Now, just slightly desperate, I  decided to try dry brushing with gesso and when that still didn't make me happy I went over the gesso with champagne gold.  This ended up looking just like, well, like a pearl really! The pearly shimmer isn't visible in the photo.

Bright Gold
Pearled finish
Ok, so now I'm all out frustrated.  Why couldn't I get it right!   The pearl was okay, so I considered leaving it alone while I was ahead and I retired for the night.

But then in the morning light and with a fresh dose of determination I took it up again.  The pearl gave way to old gold and then a thinned wash of bronze!  Eureka!!  I think I've got it; and it only 7 coats!!

I had considered changing some of the clear crystals for aqua or blue milk glass ones,  but after doing the math (cha-ching) I decided to stick with what I had.  So just a little repair work to the existing crystals; and then on to the fun job - the crystals jigsaw!   I'd like to evenutally add some sea blue and aqua crystals. You know, like maybe when I win the lottery. Ohhhhhh an wouldn't blue opaline crystals just be to die for on this baby!!

Did I mention that I was PLANNING on selling this in my booth at the antique market?  Ohhhh, to chandy or not to chandy, what a dilemna.    Well guess what!!   I fell in love, so I guess I decided to chandy afterall.

Here it is,  hanging in my dining room where it beautifully compliments my ever evolving, romantic shabby decor.

and here it is all lit up....

I love it!!!

And....the lesson for today......never give up!!!


I'm linking up with:

Monday, February 11, 2013

For the Love of old.......wood?

I absolutely love working with old, worn out, and beat up weathered boards.  Often perfect just as they are; but when their not quite perfect enough,  they really only need a little bit of love to bring out their beautiful shabby-licous qualities.  While working on several weathered wood projects this weekend it hit me that I’ve actually up-cycled a bit of a collection for my home.

Like this one; custom made to fit like a puzzle piece into a wall collage of art and mirrors.

And then there are these….

Together below for a display picture.  The grey one on the far right hangs over my entry closet and says bienvenue dans notre maison (welcome to my home).

 I think you see my point....I'm obsessed with weathered wood......
So anyway.......a client of mine was kind enough to bless me with a bunch of old broken down crates that had come into her possession last fall.  My good friend Lora-lea and her hubby have given me weathered boards from their farm and there's plenty of that there.   I've even found and of course picked through piles of old fence boards that were randomly dumped where they shouldn't have been dumped.  Thank you, you bad trash dumping people!!!  But really, be kind to the environment...hmmm??!!

Anyway, back to those old crate parts my client gave me.  I found two end pieces that were perfect for up-cycling.  This is how they looked after hosing them down in my shower.  I don't go too crazy cleaning them, just remove the surface dirt really.

I rounded up some graphics......

and then I dry brushed one in white and the second one was dry brushed in white followed by aqua.  If you're not sure what dry brushing is, it's pretty easy.  Just dip your brush into the chosen paint; then scrape it all off and start painting with a 'dry(ish) brush'.  You can go in one direction or stroke every which way you want.  It all depends on the end results you're looking for.  You can also put multiple layers if you want a heavy look.  Generally when I'm working with old boards I go with the direction of the grain.  

Here's what the white one looked like dry brushed.  Kind of looks like an old coat of white paint that's worn off in the weather.  I love that....
So, once the base was dry I decoupaged the rose graphic onto the white board and then later gave it a few coats of varathane to protect the graphic  Once the final clear coat had dried, I  added a couple of  shabby vintage hooks at the bottom (shown in later pictures).  Incidentally, if you are using an inkjet printer to print images for decoupaging, make sure to spray your printed image a with a few clear coats before attempting to decoupage or you'll just have a smeared mess instead of an image.   This step is not nessessary with laser printed images.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, I carefully and safely burned the edges of the image to age it a little before decoupaging it onto the board.

For variety, the second board was given a final dry brushing of aqua.  I chose a vintage french graphic from the graphics fairy and also decoupaged a small rose print beneath it.  I used the wax paper transfer method to transfer the french graphic.   Links to tutorials for several transfer methods, including the wax paper method can be found here

I added bronze knobs for hooks on the bottom.

Aren't they a pretty pair.......
These are going to be going to my booth opening in May at the Airdrie Antique Market.  These are now SOLD.

Here are direct links to free graphics I've used here.  Each of these websites offer many copy-write free graphics.  Happy creating! 

The rose and blue heart graphic

Vintage french company logo

The small rose print
you'll need to scroll down the page a bit for this one.

I'm linking this post up with:

Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at:

Thursdays at Beyond the Picket Fence
Beyond The Picket Fence

and also at: 'brag monday'  'wow us Wednesdays'  'centerpiece Wednesdays'   'time travel Thursdays'


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dining Room Suite Makeover (Otherwise known as the Bane of my Existence)!

A lovely client asked me last fall if I would be able to do a makeover on a dining room suite she'd acquired.  She has two booths in the Sentimental Journey Antique Market out in Nanton and it would be heading there when completed.  Not having ever taken on such a big project before,  I was intrigued at the challenge.   Well, that was last fall; these several months later, I'm still plugging away at it.  Thank goodness for patient clients!!!  I new it would be a big job, but I had no idea the enormity; and let me just add.......NEVER AGAIN!!!  Well of course, unless it's for me!

It feels at times like I will never have it finished, but I'm at least getting close.  I finally got the china cabinet back together last night.   This was no easy project let me tell you.  Since only the two centre doors open, I had to very carefully remove the back of the hutch in order to paint the interior.  I have learned that nothing ever goes back together as easily as it comes apart.  So I had several sleepless nights worrying about getting it back together.  The back went on just fine, but the doors were another story.  I absolutely love how this turned out.  I teasingly told my client that she may not get it back. 

I love how the new blue crystal knobs look with the white and grey. 
Just for fun, I painted the interior of buffet in blue as well.   It's actually a brighter colour than the picture lets on.
And here is the before, I remembered photos part way into starting; so I'd already removed the back and the doors, my hubby was priming the buffet top and the immoveable windows had been taped.  That dark patch behind the hutch is not the hutch....but the ugly wood paneling in my workroom.  Anyway, I think you'll get the idea.
Isn't this an amazing difference? 

Story still to come, the table and chairs!!

I linked up with

'be inspired Tuesdays'

Caio for now.