Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fat bottomed girls... a slipper chair redo.

Okay, so the title post is maybe a little too much...but after much deliberation, I decided it was the "right" title for this one.  Afterall, it, and Sir Mix-A-Lot's "I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie" are the two songs that have popped into my head ever since we met...

A couple weeks ago I went to an estate sale and found lots of goodies, met a great new friend (Hi Dana!), and left feeling certain that Hubs would yet again be ready to kill me.  The woman who had lived in this house was certainly a collector of great things, and I was really excited to take a few of them home.  This little chair was the last piece I found.  It was in the garage, covered with a blanket, and I almost missed her.  I'm so glad I lifted that blanket to take a peek.

Did you just gasp, and murmur a "Yuck" about my cute little find?  Well, that's okay, you're not alone.  She was certainly feeling pretty down in the dumps when I found her, but I knew she could be beautiful again with a little make-up, and some new clothes, so I got to work.

Okay, now she's starting to make me think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  Worn, off the street, used and abused, but now modernized with a little attention...and some red.

I started a little backwards, and painted her legs first since I knew all the upholstery was coming off anyway, and I didn't want to worry about covering whatever salvageable padding may have been under there.  Then I stripped her down, took all her staples out, and made sure she was structurally sound.  

I think there were about a billion staples in this chair.  My tendinitis is definitely flaring up after all the removal that went on with this project!

I was really happy to find that under all that thick, dirty upholstery, the padding was in great condition and I was able to reuse all of it.

I  chose the color combination and fabric based totally off the awesome redo at Two Thirty Five Designs.  I've loved her chairs ever since seeing them featured on Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday back in May.

I saved all the old fabric to use as templates, and numbered them as I removed them.  Then, when the time came to put them back on, I just did it in reverse order.  Because this is such a busy week for me, I didn't take pictures all the way through, so we'll skip right to her debut.

Here she "fat bottomed girl"...

My "Pretty Woman"...

My little slipper chair that makes me bust out in, "I like big butts and I cannot lie!"

Isn't she cute?

I still have to scotch guard her, and do some very tiny touch up's on her legs, but she's going to look great next to the little French end table, and lamp I've been working on for my booth.

It's so exciting to see a chair come back to life with a little paint and some fabric.  I hope she's well-received by visitors to my booth.  I didn't use the typical style that I'm going for with all my other pieces, but I think she'll coordinate fine in a little nook area I have in mind.  We'll see how it goes!

Until next time...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Heavily distressed dresser

This week, I've been planning, painting, and prepping like crazy. I have another week and some change in days before I move into my booth at Lisa's II.

I've been working on a chair, a bench, two dressers, a bed, a mirror, a lamp, and an end table this week. Busy, busy. Today I'm going to show you a dresser. Unfortunately, since my battery was dead while I was working on this, I don't have any great progress or a really great before picture.

Remember my post about all the furniture I picked up at one spot? Well, this little dresser was the one that started it all.

There she is, upside down in all her dirty, cute glory.

Dirty? Did I mean to put that there? Umm, yes. It's amazing what you can't see, until you clean. I went through half a roll of paper towels cleaning her off. I used a scrub brush and a mixture of water with a few drops of dish soap to scrub all the gunk and grime off that had built up over the years.

As I cleaned the little dresser off, I started to see a lot of imperfections. I had glue down veneer, repair/replace the drawer slides, pull old contact paper out of drawers...the list goes on. The most disappointing bit is that I had to fill a big chipped out spot on the dresser top, which meant that I couldn't just stain the top like I had originally planned. It would have to be painted.

Recently, I saw a desk that Little Miss Penney Wenny finished, which led me to the beautiful dresser by the talented Miss Mustard Seed, Marian Parsons. Both really inspired me to paint this little dresser the way I did. I love that Marian allows imperfections show through, and lets an old dresser be just that.  Old.  Imperfect.  Wonderful.

I let this dresser be just that.  I covered the entire dresser in a really thin wash of Louis Blue. Then I hand painted the details and covered the top again with Old White.

I heavily distressed the entire dresser, then went over it with a clear wax, and a dark wax on the details, imperfections, and exposed wood.

So, what do you think? Love it, or hate it? If you love it, tell me! If you hate it, well, be nice.

Until next time,

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chalk paint chalkboard

Today I finally received a package I had been waiting on for an entire week. What was in the package, you ask?

While we were on vacation we went to a festival. I carried around my camera bag, and had my little monkey on my hip. Once home, I went searching for my spare battery and found the pocket with my cleaners and chargers open. My spare battery AND charger were gone.

Terrible. Just terrible.

So my package today was my replacement battery and charger! Finally! I can take more pictures to share with you!

Anyhow, back to the topic...the chalk paint chalkboard.

Last month, at the same spot I picked up the Eastlake Victorian chairs, I happened on an old mirror. The frame was adorable, but the mirror itself was cracked...and had really pretty hearts and and green swirls along the bottom of it.

I remembered that I had seen a mirror about the size I would need for this at Habitat for Humanity that had been marked down really low. I went right out and bought it and got to work on the chalkboard. I took the broken mirror out of the frame, and put it together on top of the new mirror and traced it.

Then I went to cutting it. Which, by the way, is not easy. Not if you're not really familiar with what you're doing (like me!). So, I bought my scoring tool, dipped it into lamp oil, and scored along my traced lines. Hint-- Glass is scored via sound. Practice and listen to for the "nail on chalkboard" sound. If the line didn't break easily with pressure, I used the back of the tool that's ball shaped and tapped gently on the back of the mirror along the scored line. That helped the glass break along the lines more easily, though they weren't always the cleanest breaks.

(You know you wanted to see my basement "ceiling"...or lack thereof!)

I fit it back into the frame to make sure it fit, and made minor adjustments to ensure it's fit.

Then I took it out, and went to painting it. I made my own chalkboard paint using 2 T of unsanded grout to 1 cup of paint. You can use this recipe to make chalkboard paint in any color, but I wanted the standard black chalkboard, so I used black paint.

I decided to paint the back of the mirror since it was already a darker color...and that way if I really wanted the mirror back, it's as easy as turning it over.

I rolled the chalkboard paint on with a foam roller, and sanded gently between each of three coats. Then, I took a piece of chalk and rubbed it gently all over the chalk board using the long side to season the chalkboard. This is a must step! If you don't do this, you'll "burn" your first marks into your chalkboard, and they'll always be there as ghost marks even if you wash the chalkboard.

While the mirror was out of the frame, I painted it with my new Annie Sloan chalk paint (!) in Paris gray. I liked the way the mirror looked when I picked it up, but the bottom of it wasn't painted, and that wouldn't work out for someone if they wanted to hang it on a wall.

Can I just say, I love this paint? I don't know if I'll on use another paint on furniture ever again. It goes on so smoothly, dries fast, and distresses like a dream. I distressed it, went over it with the clear wax, and then with the dark. After the wax dried (about 24 hours), I buffed it and it has a really nice sheen to it.

I the chalkboard back into the frame, added cardboard behind it to give it a snug fit, and tacked the backing back on, and voila! Chalkboard in a pretty frame!

The note on the chalkboard is something I've had on my mind a lot this last week. I finally found a spot where I can sell my furniture, and I'll be moving in November 1st! I'm excited, but nervous about the "what if's." I know I'll never know until I try, so I'm going all in for it! I definitely have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me as I get everything cleaned and ready to go to the shop!

Until next time...

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gumpaste sunflower tutorial

We're back! Actually- we had to come back because I am SO absent minded that I told someone I'd make her wedding cake for this last weekend...after our vacation was already planned.

Anyhow- today I'm going to do a tutorial on how to make gumpaste/sugarpaste sunflowers. I looked all over the internet to find a tutorial, but came up pretty empty handed, so I came up with my own way to make them and am going to share it with you. Hopefully it'll help someone else out.

Here are the players for this game:

-Gumpaste colored in rich yellow, leafy green, and dark brown
-lily cutters or leaf cutters bent to an oblong shape (this is what I use)
-ball tool
-lily veiner
-small daisy cutter
-dusting pouch with 50/50 cornstarch to powdered sugar mixture
-gum glue (gumpaste mixed with a small amount of water)
-pointed tool (toothpick will work)
-heavy guage floral wire
-wire cutters
-foam flower mat
-rolling pin
-rounded bottom cup

(not pictured)
-petal dust in golden yellow, brown, orange, and green
-steamer (you can use the steam setting on your iron)

On a clean surface, apply a small amount of crisco, and dust the surface with your dusting pouch so your gumpaste won't stick. I use a small sheet of clear vinyl with the edges taped to a cutting board. The vinyl is a non-stick surface on it's own, so I don't need to use crisco, plus I can cut multiple petals at a time, and slide them under the edge of the vinyl to keep them from drying too quickly.

Then you need to roll out your gumpaste to less than 1/16" thick (the pink guides on the 9" Wilton rolling pin). Work quickly so your gumpaste doesn't dry out. Take your lily or leaf cutters and cut out your petals. For this medium sized flower, I used 24 petals using the smallest size cutter that comes in the leaf cutter kit, but you can more or less as you see fit to make your sunflower proportionate. Use your spatula to life the petals from the surface so as to keep the original shape.

Dust your lily veiner halves and place your petal in the upper center portion of it.

Close with the other half of the veiner and press to imprint the veining on the petal.

If you don't have a veiner- don't worry. They are pricey, but are a great investment if you're planning to make numerous flowers/leaves. You can still make this flower without one, it just won't have as much detail.

Place the petal on your flower foam pad, and use the ball tool to slightly frill the edges upward. You want to elongate the petal a little, while softening the edges.

This is how the finished petal should look compared to how it looks just after cutting:

Repeat these steps for the number of petals you feel you'll need. Then arrange petals in a circle in the size you're wanting your flower to be on either a paper towel, or thicker piece of foam. The edges of the petals should be close enough to touch, but not overlapping.

(sorry- started my second row before I remembered to snap a picture!)

Take your gum glue and, using your paint brush, apply a small amount to the sides of the petals where they are touching. Apply the other petals on top of the first row, with each petal off set from the one below it.

Take a piece of your brown gumpaste for your center. I completely just estimated the amount I needed, but you want this to be thicker so you can insert your wire.

Flatten your ball into a circle.

Press the center of the circle in further to make it more concave.

Apply gum glue to ends of the petals on the interior of the circle, and place your sunflower core in the center of the flower.

Then, using your toothpick, or pointed tool, poke many randomly placed holes in the core.

This part isn't about perfection. Some holes are bigger, some are smaller, all randomly placed, and done quickly.

Take your rounded bottom cup, and set it on top of the flower center. Then, reach under your paper towel or foam, and invert the flower so it is upside down on the cup.

Using wire cutters, cut an ~6 inch piece of your thick guage floral wire. Dip the end in your gum glue and work it into the center back of the sunflower's core. Gently press around the end to ensure contact with the wire.

Take a small amount of you green gumpaste and roll it to 1/16" thick. Cut your leaves using the next size larger leaf/petal cutter. Press them in the veiner as you did before, but don't frill the edges. Apply a small amount of glue to one side of the leaf, and press it onto the back of the sunflower.

Apply more leaves around the center- no specific number. Just enough that you overlap the back and create a good sandwich closure over the wire. I used seven leaves on this flower.

Turn the flower back over onto your paper towel or thick piece of foam. At this point, you can be finished, or you can add the next detail I show you. I did a few without the next steps, and a few with for the cake I did- just for variation.

Roll out another 1/16" section of yellow gumpaste. Using your small daisy cutter, cut multiple daisies. Use your toothpick or pointed tool to cut the petals off the daisies (one at a time).

Apply gum glue around the outer edge of the core, and place the daisy petal with the base butted against the yellow sunflower petals, standing against the core. Gently fold the small petal inward over the core.

Do this all around the core, and you're done!

You can leave your flower flat to dry to give a large, open look, or put it in a cup/bowl to shape it with it's leaves curved more up, and closed. Allow the flower to fully dry, and then dust your flower. Dusting and steaming the flower gives it a nice glossy sheen. It'll also remove any remaining powdered sugar that may be on the flower from dusting the surfaces.

I had huge blogger fail, and need to get this wedding cake finished mode for this, and didn't get pictures on how to dust, but hopefully my explanation will suffice. Dust the sunflower petals with yellow dust. Then dust the "daisy" petals around the core, the core itself, and the sunflower petals next to those with brown dusting powder. Dust a small amount of orange fading from the brown to the yellow. Dust the leaves with green. Steam quickly to bring out a luster, but don't steam too long or the gumpaste will melt and your flower will be kaput.

I found that my flowers were strong enough with the single wire folded up to double it, but you may want to add a couple more wires, and tape them together with floral tape for extra strength. When putting the flowers in the cake, use flower spikes, and put the wire into the stem part just as you would with live flowers.

This was the finished product. The flower shown in this tutorial is the size of the top sunflowers.

I made the larger sunflower the same way as I showed you here, only the petals were made with the middle size leaf, and leaves were made with the largest cutter.

Good luck! Let me know if anything needs clarification!

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