Monday, October 31, 2011

All Dressed Up for Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!


I hope if you are up north that you are staying warm.

If you are in the south (like me), I hope you are staying dry!  Yes...lots of rain today.
Hoping it dries up in time for Trick-or-Treating.

Here is a little table that my husband picked up for me a couple of weeks ago.


Someone had painted the top of this table white.  -  I mean really white.  With plain old latex paint.
I'm not sure what affect they were going for but to me it was comical.  Super out of place.  Way ugly.


Mr. 1101 stripped the top thinking it might have a nice top to stain and refinish. 
 (He's in to stripping these day.  - furniture that is)
But you can see the wood really just wasn't that nice.

So, I tested out my new can of Paris Grey Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.



I used the dark wax on the body and on the top but left the drawer and the edge of the top plain with just the clear wax.


I have to say..."wax on, wax off" takes on a life of it's own when you work with ASCP.  I think I might know how the Karate Kid felt at the end of the day!


My apologies for some of the blurry pictures but I'm in a big hurry today and the lighting just isn't good thanks to the rain. I've decided to do a show at Andrea & Friends antique mall in St. Petersburg next Saturday so I am busy trying to get some things ready (including this table).  I've never done a show before so I'm a bit nervous. 
But even if nothing sells...I'll have some fun, right?

Hope you have a blessed Halloween day.

Fran

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

A few months ago when I first began my "trash to treasure" journey, I found this little table at a yardsale:


Of course, it didn't look like this at the time.  It looked like this:



...except it was actually even worse.  I forgot to take a before-before picture.

If you can picture it, someone had butchered two of the legs on this table.  There were many ugly screws sticking out the side of the legs and one of the legs was actually splitting in two.  After I got it home (back in May) I sort of took a second look at it and decided I'd made a purchase that would become trash.  Even though I thought the table was a beauty, it was just too much work to repair those legs.

So, it sat in the garage.  And sat... and sat... and sat.

But then last week, I walked out the back door to find it upside down on the paito table with just two legs attached.

Hmm...what could be going on?

Well, Mr. 1101 decided to take on the challenge of leg repair.  He filled the holes and sanded it to it's original shape.  Several hours later it had all four legs attached with no screws and no holes...


Of course, I immediately decided it had to have my favorite antique white paint and dark stain finish (you know...just in case I wanted to keep it) so I painted it right away!

And here it is today.  If you didn't know it, you would never know that these legs were once shattered.




You know, Mr. 1101 is an OK guy don't you think?  I think I'll call him "Dr. 1101" this week.




So prissy with her shoes isn't she?



Here's the problem... I LOVE this table but there is no where for it to go in my house.  Right now, I have it sitting in our master bathroom.  (Of course, something had to be moved out for that to happen.)


  But my house is starting to look like a furniture store.  Something has to go...


You know...if this is the worst problem I face today...well, I am truly blessed.

Happy Painting!
Oh...and a reminder...there's a new party goin' on...Link up to the
Vintage Furniture Wednesday party over at Three Boys!

Linkin' up to:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I've Been Bonding

Do you ever go through periods where you just have to bond with a project before you can get started?

That was me this week.

I had this cabinet door that I had painted and prepped to make a sign.  But I just couldn't decide what to put on it.


So...we had to bond for a while.  I knew it had a message but I wan't sure what...
I kept staring into it's eyes...hoping it would tell me...but it was silent.


So, in the mean time, I kept busy.

I played a little tennis with the kids...

I shopped for halloween costumes...


I watched the sunset in my backyard while eating dinner with my family...


I went grocery shopping in a well stocked grocery store...
I drove my kids back and forth to school everyday without incident...
I took my child to a doctor within just an hour of making a call to them...
I worshipped in a church of my choice without being hassled...
I visited with friends...
I played games with my kids...
I had a conference with my children's teachers...
I read a book of my choice on my Kindle...

And all that time, I kept bonding with the board...


(No...I didn't take it with me everywhere... but it was close)

I did so many things during the week that we sometimes take for granted but that we are so blessed to be able to do.  Many people aren't so lucky.

By the end of the week the board and I had bonded enough.  I knew exactly what it wanted to say:





I pray that you are also blessed...


I'm linkin' up to:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Re-Upholstery Queen

Today, I decided to do a repost of a project that I did a long, long time ago.  Actually, it was THE project that started me on my trash to treasure journey. 
Yep, that was wa-a-a-a-y back in April.


I had owned this chair for years and the original faded fabric was proof of it's age.


This project required that I take on two new skills that I had never done before.  One was to paint furniture and the other was to reupholster. 

Lucky for me, I have a neighbor who is an expert at painting furniture and she gave me great tips on how to repaint the arms and legs and give them a proper distressed and beautiful finish.


But, unfortunately, she had no experience with reupholstering and, in fact, I didn't know anyone who did.

That was when I found Sarah over at  Three Boys

I found her on a linky party where she had posted this beautiful chair:

This chair was very similar to mine and she said in her post that it took her just 3 hours to re-do this chair!  THREE HOURS!!
It had taken me three months!

After looking around her blog for a while, I decided that Sarah must be the Queen of Reupholstery!  Being a new blogger and all, I wasn't sure if she'd be willing to give me some tips on my project but I nervously sent her an e-mail anyway asking her for help.

Turns out that Sarah was very willing to help me and she gave lots of great info to get me through the project. I've since learned that blogland folks in the trash to treasure world are all very willing to share information so you should never hesitate to ask (us) for info. 

But Sarah has always held a special place in my trash-to-treasure heart for being so super sweet to me and so helpful on my very first project.  And ever since, she's given me continuous support in her sweet comments on other projects.

Sarah recently reached the greater-than-1000-follower mark on her blog which in my book puts her in the super-blogger category and today, she has started her very first weekly link party. 

I had nothing new to post about this week in the furniture category  for her party so thought I'd re-post a project that she helped me with as a tribute.


Congratulations, Sarah on your new "super" blogger-dom status and good luck with your new party. 

Fran


And so...I'm linking up to:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Final Test of DIY Chalk Paint - A Sign


Here's a little sign I painted over the weekend.


You may remember from my post about the DIY Chalk paint that I had a little left over from the desk that I did last weekend.  (You can read about how to make DIY Chalk Paint here and about my first test.) On the desk, I applied the paint, followed by a clear wax and then a dark wax.  I wasn't thrilled with the finish because it wasn't as smooth as I like my finishes to be.  However, it wasn't bad. 

I wanted to test it using a different process so I decided to use it on a sign.  Afterall, I liked the color (which does not show up the pretty blue that it is in these photos)  and thought it would make a nice addition to my current stock. 

I have no "during" pictures.  But here is how it went.  I painted the DIY chalk paint on to an unfinished cabinet door.  It dried a bit gritty as I described on the desk.  It easily sanded and I just love how easy it was to distress and I love HOW it distressed. 

You may remember in my previous post that I mentioned a bad oder after it had been stored for a week.  Well, IT STUNK BAD!!! But I went on with my project anyway.  After I distressed it, I stained it with a dark glaze.  (Remember that on the desk, I used a dark wax.)  The glaze gave it a nice aged look...nothing too drastic and not as dark as the desk. 

I then transferred my typography to the board and hand painted it using black paint.  After the paint dried, I sanded the letters to make them look worn and faded. 


Finally, I sealed the entire board  with polyacrylic.  Once again, IT STUNK!  I have no idea why.  Now that it is dry, it doesn't smell at all.  (Whew!) 

So Now...the results of my final test...

The single coat of polyacrylic is pretty much equivalent to the wax finish.  With that said, my opinion is that I really like the way it looks BUT I don't like the way it feels.  I wish I could give you a "feel test".  Side by side with anything finished with milk paint of AS chalk paint...it just doesn't feel as nice.  It feels...well..chalky. 


So. Once again, it's a nice option to have but it just doesn't measure up for me.  Will I use it again?  Yes.  And I'm thrilled to have the option.   But I probably won't use it on furniture I intend to sell.  On signs?  Maybe.  The jury is still out.

But there you have it folks...I report...you decide.


By the way...do you like my sign? So focused on the paint.  Let's don't forget the sign...


linkin' up to
Savvy Southern Style

ADDENDUM TO THE ORIGINAL POST
I've taken a few additional photos (outdoors) and was better able to capture the true color of the sign.  So...just for fun...I'm adding one here:


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday - Fonts and Colors

Happy Tuesday everyone.  Today's "tech" talk isn't really all that "tech-y".  It's more about design.



I will say that I had to really think hard about today's topic- color & fonts.  The last thing I want to do is to insult someone, pick on anyone or criticize anyone about their blog.  After all, every blog is a unique statement about who you are and you have every right to customize the heck out of what you do.  You own it!  Please know, that the ideas I am giving today are general guidelines for "professional" websites.  But they are good guidelines for anyone creating a website if you want people to keep coming back.

When you are first creating your blog, it is really easy to get excited (and possibly carried away) about all of the many fonts, colors and backgrounds that your blog tool has to offer.  (I use Blogger so that is what I'll refer to always). 

Blogger's Design Template gives you many great options in choosing your background and layout and then if you want, you can customize all of your colors and your fonts.  When I first created mine, I tried out all kinds of things...and yes, I sort of got carried away for a bit.  But I eventually switched to a pretty basic design.

Here is my best possible tip:  KEEP IT SIMPLE.

By simple, I don't mean that you can't create cool buttons and backgrounds.  Freckled Laundry is a really good example of a blog that has a very customized background and beautiful buttons that reflect the main theme of the blog. 

But you will notice that she also keeps her colors light and her fonts basic.  Her web site is very easy on the eyes.

That is what you want your web site to be:  Easy On The Eyes.  If a website is hard to read, the reader won't read it.  For example, a black background with blue printing is very hard to see.  Even a black background with white printing is uncomfortable for long periods of time.  Additionally, fancy fonts can be a challenge.  One thing to remember is that not all of your readers have 20/20 vision! 

The basic rule for a professional website is a light background (white, grey, light blue or pale yellow) with black printing.

As far as fonts go, never use more than 3 or 4 fonts on your page.  The main text of your blog should be one of the 4 most common:  Arial, New Times Roman, Helvitica or sans-serif.  Titles and headers can be in a slightly more fancy font but if you want your readers to stick around, keep the font of your main text in one of these easy to read fonts.

If you aren't sure what to do, go and check out some of the "super blogger" sites.  You know...some of those with over 2,000 followers (which certainly isn't me...I'm working hard towards 200).  Then copy their styles.  They certainly have done something right and I guarantee their blogs are "easy on the eyes".

To Summarize:  A light, background and dark basic font  creates a very clean professional web site, making  text easy to read and your readers coming back.

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

DIY Chalk Paint vs. ASCP

After reading Korrie's post on DIY Chalk Paint over at Red Hen Home, I decided I just had to mix up a little paint and try it for myself.  If it would work, then WOW what a money saver it could be.  I had just been to Robyn Story Designs that very afternoon to pick up a couple of cans of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) and I walked away with a much lighter wallet although I was excited about the colors that I chose.


I just couldn't stop thinking about the DIY solution, however, and I had come upon this little desk on Saturday for $15 and I really wanted to paint it blue with a walnut finish top.  Hmm...blue was not one of the ASCP paints I had purchased.



So, I grabbed an old can of Sherwin Williams paint in the color "Rain" which is a pale blue.  I had used it in our guest room on the walls and had about a half gallon left over.

Mr. 1101 was definitely up for the challenge of re-finishing the top with a walnut stain so he got to work right away.

In the mean time, I mixed my paint.  I decided to use baking soda rather than the grout that Korrie had used.  She had said she had to do lots of sanding to get the "grit" out and I thought I'd rather avoid that step.  Sherry over at No Minimalist Here had stated that she used Calcium Carbonate and when I looked that up on the internet, I found a site that said it was a substitute for baking soda. 

So, I decided on baking soda.

The recipe was two parts paint to one part powder.

So, I mixed up my paint (added a tad of water) and stirred and stirred and stirred.

I went right to painting. (No prep on the desk what so ever...but I'll say it really didn't need any prep no matter what type of paint I chose.  The former owner had only stained it.  There was no topcoat on it anyway).

It did dry a bit gritty.  So, I did have to sand it but it was very easy to sand it smooth.

Here are some photos that I'm hoping you can see the difference between the sanded drawer and the untouched drawer:




I was immediately excited about how easily this sanded and how beautifully it distressed. This was, afterall a latex paint and in the past, I've had trouble with peeling paint when I distress using latex which is why I don't use it on furniture.  But dried quickly and distressed nicely.

I did use ASCP dark wax to age it.  I alway have trouble with that and it was no different on this project.


I apologize for the coloring of this photo.  Mr. 1101 and I moved the desk to three different locations (inside and out) trying to get a photo that showed the true color but it just wouldn't come out blue.  Even with the photo tools, it just isn't very attractive.  Most of my photos make it look grey.


Once again, Mr. 1101 did a great job on the top.  I think it is the prettiest part of the desk.



So, here is my opinion if you care...

I loved it as an occassional solution.  It is not something I would use all of the time.
In fact, I would NEVER use this solution on a piece with many details or little grooves.  You would never be able to sand those parts smooth and then when the wax (if you use a wax) touches the unsanded parts, it will just make it look dirty.  I have a few spots like that on this desk.

I would like to try this again and top it with a polyacrylic rather than with a wax.  Even though there are two coats of wax on this desk (clear followed by dark), it still does not have the nice smooth, professional feel of ASCP.

It opens up lots of possibilities on colors that I did not previously have simply because ASCP is so expensive.  And, I expect I will use it often for painting my signs. 

However, there is one more important note that you should be aware of
I stored my left over paint mixture in  a sealed container for future use.  Five days later, I used it to paint a board for a sign.  Unfortunately, the odor was quite foul!  OK.  In better terms...it stunk to high heavens!!!  I wonder if, like milk paint, it must be used within a day or two of mixing.  I did paint the sign and functionally, it worked great (I'll show in a future post).  I'm hoping once I add the top coat, it will no longer smell.

I won't stop using ASCP (and other fine professional furniture grade paints that I use) for furniture.    But it is a wonderful tool to have in my little painting tool box.

Thanks, Korri and Sherry (and whoever else has reviewed this) for sharing this idea.



I am so inspired by the many talented people I meet out here in blog land.

Please keep the ideas coming and if you've tried a DIY chalk paint, I'd love to hear your thoughts & feedback in my comments.

Fran

Linking up to:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Where Are the Bats Coming From

Oh My.  It's happened again.  This morning I walked out to my side porch and found -  you guessed it...

MORE BATS!

Remember, I found one here:


And here:


And now, on my side porch.  It was time to investigate! 

But it didn't take too long to figure it out.

All I had to do was walk out the front door and there they were!

They seem to be coming from the mailbox.

Problem is, I can't get the mail box open. 
Yep, it just stopped opening a couple of days ago.
Same thing with the back door.  I went to take out the garbage and boom!  I ran into the door when it should have been opening.  The door knob would turn but the door wouldn't open.

Come to think of it, lots of strange things have been happening since I put up this sign last Saturday.



Hmm.  You know, the icemaker quit working suddenly.  And the doorbell rings sometimes out of the blue but no one is there!

And now, all these bats!




Good thing I'm not superstitious.  Next thing you know the doorbell will ring and there will be little ghosts, goblins and other characters at the door! 



I love October!  It's not only fun...it's beautiful. 

Thank you, God, for your fun and your beauty.