Aug 17, 2012

A Little Bit of Basket Decor

The other day I had a bit of free time, so I tackled this basket that has been on my to-do list for a couple of weeks now. 

After a little paint and a little embellishing, I think it turned out super cute.  (Well, at least in my opinion... I'm sure there will be people out there who'll think it's super ugly.)

This is what I started with...

I painted the rim brown, and dry brushed the rest first with white paint.

I thought it needed a little somethin' more, so I brushed on some blue paint, too. Then, I added some fun fabric, a few muslin rosettes, and some of my script ribbon

The books and other junk were just for these pictures.  I will probably actually be using it to store my glitter in. 

 This was my first basket painting attempt, and it was quite fun, so there may be more in my future!From ho hum, to simply chic in only an hour, or so!

Aug 10, 2012

Shabby Chic White Vanity Makeover

Well, I showed everyone a sneak peak of this vanity the other day when  I shared how I refinish my furniture.
So, this is the full reveal. 

I used Cece Caldwell paint in Simply White and then lightly distressed around the edges.  Perfect and simple, a classic look.  I love how it turned out.  If my bedroom was actually big enough to turn around in, I would love to keep this one! 

Just a reminder, but this is how it started out.

It may look decently okay in this picture, but the top especially, was terribly scratched.  So, I refinished the top, and painted out the rest.  I unfortunately had to remove the trim off the drawers.  Only one of them had all their pieces there.  And my skills aren't up to carving out new trim.  This is definitely a quality, heavy and solid piece of furniture.  Dove tailed drawers and all. 

The bench was picked up a separate yard sale, but I think it's from the same era, and it fits nicely into the vanity. 

Even though the sides of the double top were a bit of pain to refinish, I still think that it turned out so lovely, and totally worth the extra effort.

You can read all about how I refinished the top here:

With the addition of a pretty mirror, it will make the perfect primping station!

Aug 7, 2012

A Burlap Seat

The hardest part of this makeover was getting this chair clean!  It was covered in dirt and dust and spiders...ugghhh.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I just adore spiders.  I probably spent more time washing, cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping, and wiping this chair, than I did painting it!  There's not one speck of dirt left on this one!

I used Cece Caldwell paint in Vermont Slate.  However, I mixed in a liberal amount black craft paint to darken it up.  I wasn't sure if this would work, but I didn't have any problems with it.  Also, when I waxed it, I added black paint to the wax, which darkened it a tad more. 

One thing I like about this paint is that you can distress it with a wet rag.  This will come in handy when I will have to work indoors in the winter... no more dust flying every which way!

I recovered the seat with a burlap coffee sack that I purchased at Princess Auto.  I went with my husband who would spend hours wandering there in there if he could.  I went in planning to be bored, but I ended up purchasing a couple of these bags and my husband didn't buy anything. 

Today, I will be working on finishing up a few more projects.  The weather is calling for rain the rest of the week, so I'd better get a move on it today!

Linking to:

Aug 2, 2012

Michael's Knock-Off

So, I was in Michael's the other day, and I saw this burlap 'vase' that I totally adored!  However, I totally did not adore the price tag... $24.99 (plus 13% tax).

So, what's a girl to do?  She goes to the Salvation Army and finds a glass vase in almost the same size and shape for only $1.00.

She then prints out the words to one of her favorite hymns "How Great Thou Art" onto a scrap of burlap and attaches it to the vase.

And this is what she ended up with! 

What do you think?  Just as good as the Michael's version? 

Total Project Cost:
Vase- 1.00
Burlap- 0 (it was a left over scrap from the tablerunners I sell in my etsy shop)
Twine- The whole roll was a $1.13 
Key: 0.50

So... 2.00 maybe, tops?  In my opinion, I'll take 2.00 over 25 any day!  Plus, I had the fun of making it.
And... in case you are not familiar with the hymn that I used, I have place the lyrics below for you. 
How Great Thou Art
Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;

And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die - I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Copyright © 1953 The Stuart Hine Trust/All rights worldwide adm. by
Kingsway Communications Ltd.
(except USA admin. by
EMI CMG Publishing and print rights adm. by Hope Publishing Company.All other rights in North, Central & S.America adm by Manna Music Inc)

Linking to:
Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday
Five Days Five Ways: Friday Free For All
The Cottage Market
Tatertots and Jello
Funky Junk Interiors 

Aug 1, 2012

A Tutorial On Refinishing Furniture

After I wrote the post on my refinished dresser, I had enough requests for a tutorial to warrant the writing of one. 
Since I have started redoing furniture in the past few years, I have probably put more paint on than I've taken off, but still, there is something satisfying in bringing a beautiful old piece back to its original state.

Here are two pieces I have recently redone.  You can view the post on the first one here, and the second is a sneak peak, because I haven't written about it yet.   

There are two different techniques that I use to refinish.  The first one is stripping and the second one is sanding.

First, we will talk about STRIPPING FURNITURE:

You will need:
-Stripper. (For this vanity I used Citristrip.  It was nice because I didn't have to worry about the chemicals.  I have also used the Home Hardware brand (available only in Canada), and it worked well.)
-Steel Wool
-Plastic Gloves
-an old brush, and a container to pour the stripper into
-occasionally you may also find a small wire brush handy to help get paint out of the grain.  I also will use a large needle to help me clean out corners, grooves, etc.   (Not sure if that's 'code', or not, but it works for me, so long as I'm careful)
-you will probably also want some paper towels to wipe up the goopy mess you will be creating. 

Liberally spread your stripper over your surface.  Make sure it's spread thick enough so that it won't dry up on you.  If you are using chemical stripper, be aware that it does evaporate, so make it goopy. It's best not to do this in the hot sun. 

After you've given it some time to work, and it's started to bubble, start scraping away.  Careful you don't gouge your wood!

If you have lots of layers to go through, you will have to repeat this numerous times.  There was only one layer of paint on my piece, so it was fairly easy to remove. 
I do find it easier to work on small sections, rather than try to tackle an entire piece at once.  It's more satisfying progress wise, plus there's less chance of the paint rehardening on you.  
Basically, once I got it to the point as in the above picture, I wiped the whole thing off with paper towel and then spread a thin layer of stripper over it and worked that off with steel wool.  I find if I use fine steel wool, it just goops up, so use one that is a little course. 

And that is what the top looked like once the finish was removed. Clean, beautiful wood!  I gave it a nice sanding with some fine sandpaper and then it was ready to stain. 

The second technique I use is SANDING:

I sanded down the top of this vanity.
Now, sanding is pretty much straightforward. You are removing the existing finish by sanding it off.  I have a DeWalt orbital sander that assists me in this way.
I start out by sanding down the finish with 80 grit sandpaper.  However, when using an orbital sander, you have to resist the urge to press down on it. When you press down on it, it can leave pesky circles in the wood.  I only use the orbital at the beginning to get the bulk of the finish off.  I always give it a good going over afterwards with a 60 grit to remove any circles that may have shown up.  Then I work my way back up, using 100 grit, and then a 220 to smooth it out. 

 I always sand the sides of the top by hand, especially if it is curved, like this piece was.  To get in the creases, or corners of items, I usually fold a piece of sandpaper in half.  It's difficult, but doable.  It will probably wreck your nails, too.  Now, because I was planning on staining this a dark colour, this is how I left it. 

If you are working with a piece that is veneered, you have to be careful not sand right through the veneer.  This top was veneered, however, it is fairly thick and I didn't have to do a ton of sanding to get it ready to stain. 

Next Step: STAINING!
You will want to make sure that your surface is clean and free of any debris.  At this point, you may want to use a wood conditioner.  For these two pieces I didn't.  It helps the stain to absorb into the wood evenly.  You may want to use it, though, if your piece is pine. 
I use a rag and wipe the stain across the surface, wiping up any excess as I go.  I think this may be where some people have problems with staining, they put way too much on, let it sit, and then wonder why it came out looking uneven. 

For both of these pieces I used varathane brand "Dark Walnut".  For the vanity top that I sanded down, it took 2 coats, and for the one that I stripped, it took numerous coats to get it as dark as I wanted.  I find that different woods show the colour in different ways.  In between coats, I let it dry for a few hours, or overnight.  Basically, you want it to feel dry when you touch it before you put another coat on.

I then let it fully dry... 24 hours is best. 

Final Step: FINISHING!
There are numerous ways to finish your piece.  For the vanity that I stripped, I used a WAX FINISH.  Basically, you take a rag, rub the wax into the wood, let it dry (15-30 min., depending how thick you put it on) and then buff. For this vanity, I waxed the top, then the drawers, then the body and by the time I was done, the top was nearly dry.  I usually put two coats of wax onto wood.  This is a quick and easy way, and leaves a nice natural sheen. 

I used Minwax Paste Wax for this.

For the vanity that I sanded the top down on, I used polyurethane.  I thought it deserved more of a shine.  I apply semi-gloss polyurethane very carefully with a foam brush.  When you get your can out, DON'T shake it!  Carefully stir it from top to bottom, though.  Shaking creates bubbles in the product, which will then be transferred onto the piece that you've worked so hard on!

After each coat, carefully and lightly sand out any bubbles with a high grit sandpaper.  In between coats, I wrap my brush in saran and pop into the freezer.  You will find with each successive coat that the finish feels smoother.  I did four coats on this one.  After your final coat, you can very, very lightly and carefully use the sandpaper to smooth any remaining bubbles.  I use 400 grit sandpaper for this.   

If you've gotten to the end of this post, I sincerely hope I've given you a few tips that you'll be able to use in your future endeavours!

Happy Refinishing!