Thursday, November 17, 2011

Decorating with Thrift Store Finds

I love thrifting.  It let's me change up a room frequently and I don't feel guilty about spending money.  I really can't justify spending full price for anything anymore.   Here are some things I found recently.

This soup tureen was $7.99 at the Salvation Army store. It looks antique, but there were no distinguishing markings on the underside, so I'm not sure.  In any case, I love it so it doesn't really matter. It matched my color scheme perfectly and sparked me to re-do my whole display on and over my  antique sewing machine.

This plate was .99 cents at Value Village. 

I added it to the wall display over my antique sewing machine as well.

I got four of these plates at the Salvation Army Store, at .99 cents each.

 There were matching bowls, which I didn't buy and now regret, but they blend nicely with my Mikasa French Country dishes.

This plate was $1.99 at Value Village.

  I used this one to update the display over my bookcase. 

That's all for now.  Happy thrifting!!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Re-Inherited Antique Phone.

 Just a short post today. 

 Thought I'd take this opportunuty to show you this great antique phone I inherited.

The ear-piece had come off, so I used epoxy glue to repair it.

And the dial cover was missing, so I took a picture of some hydrangeas from the internet and made my own .
I got the idea from this great antique French phone I found a picture of.

I really like this Danish antique phone- but I'll settle for mine which was" free".

Just for fun, here are some other antique phones that I love.

This one is sweet too!!!!

And I wouldn't kick this one out of my bedroom.

What can I say......

And this one satisfies my need for a little bling in my life.

But back to reality........

Here's the phone on my end table in my living room- and it even works . I'd forgotten how much work dialing a phone is , but I'll probably just use this phone for decoration, and to answer incoming calls.

  And did I mention that I saw the same phone at an antique store and they were asking $125.00 for it.  The shop owner said she could get twice that for it, so it made me happy to tell her I had the same one and I got it for free.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Empty Picture Frame Wall Collage

My latest project is to make a collage from empty picture frames.  I have a space on my bedroom wall that I think will be just perfect for it, so of course I had to start researching some ideas to get inspiration.  Here are some pictures that inspired me:

The first one is very close to what I am thinking of doing since my bedroom walls are a soft sage green color.  I planned on having all my frames in antique white, in different shapes and sizes.  The criteria for the frames was that they had to have a vintage feel to them, have a variety of interesting patterns  and they had to be frames that I already owned, purchased from garage sales, discount stores, or even better- curbside finds.  The more inexpensive, the better.  I didn't care what color or material they were made from, as I was going to spray paint them all the same color - Heirloom White.

I started  by going through my own large collection of frames and choosing the ones that I thought were the most interesting.  The next step was to make frequent visits to Value Village , Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.  Most of the frames I found were from $1.00 to $5.00.  Some had mirrors in them which I removed, and some had tacky art-work - but I was able to look past this and see their potential.

Here's some of  my hodge-podge collection of frames before spray painting

And after spray-painting......

Once I had all my frames, I removed all the backing material from them, and laid them out on a tarp.  I decided to  do a chippy paint look on them, so that some of the gold would show through after sanding.  I rubbed a plain white candle in random areas on each frame, and on the edges, as well as anywhere there was a raised decorative detail.  Then I sprayed all the frames with Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint. When the frames where completely dry ( at least overnight)  I sanded or scratched the paint off the areas that I had rubbed with wax.  The wax makes it really easy to  remove the paint and show some gold , without sanding off the underlying gold colour.

When all my frames were done, I laid a bath towel down on my dining room table.  I made sure the towel was the approximate size of the area on my wall that I was hanging the collage.  Then I began experimenting with different layouts.  I kept rearranging the frames until I was happy with the arrangement.  Then it was onto the wall to hang and admire.

Here's the finished product:                                         

I'm pretty happy with the result, but I think I would have used a few more larger frames if I could have found some that I liked in my $5.00 per frame budget.  The good thing about this project is that I can easily change up a few of the frames, or add more if  I want.

Hope you like the result.  Until next time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chalk Painted Antique Sewing Cabinet

Don't you just love it when you finally find inspiration to makeover something that you've been struggling with  ( figuratively speaking) for ages.  That's exactly what happened to me last week when I was looking at a posting on facebook from Annie Sloan.  She suggested we take a look at this awesome antique sewing machine makeover from " The Empty Nest"- using Annie Sloan Chalk paint, of course.  Now, you'll know if you've read one of my more recent posts that I recently discovered how to make Chalk Paint myself
 ( a quick recap on that later). I also happen to own an antique sewing machine in a cabinet, exactly like the one that  " The Empty Nest" did, so I was doubly excited.

The picture below is the cabinet that inspired me- she called her "Coco", after Coco Chanel, since her cabinet doesn't have the sewing machine in it anymore, and Coco Chanel prefered hand sewing to machine sewing.

 I've had my sewing machine for 18 years, and never did anything to fix it up. And believe me, it was in a terrible state. It is truly an antique (about 100 years old), once belonging to a great- aunt on a farm.  That sewing machine made all the clothing for a family of 12, as well as many relatives and was very well used and loved.  I put it in my living room, covered the badly scratched and worn top with a crocheted runner and  displayed my collection of antique flow- blue china on and over it. 

Not bad, but I am totally in love with " The Empty Nest" makeover, so I decided to spend this Labour Day weekend  making mine look just as awesome.  My cabinet  is definately in worse shape, but I was up for the challenge.  First order of business was to  head over to Home Depot and pick up the supplies ( or in my case just pick up the supplies after work since I work at Home Depot).

Here's what you need :

*Chalk Paint  in 2 colors ( recipe will follow)
Painter's masking tape
Paint brush
Flat black spray paint- I used Tremclad Rust paint
Plastic drop sheets
Wood glue or Weldbond ( to fix the veneer that was coming loose on my cabinet)
Furniture paste wax

*Recipe for home made Chalk Paint- equal parts latex paint and Plaster of Paris.You might have to add a little water if it's too thick, which mine was, since the latex paint I had was old and had thickened up a lot. Yup, that's it. A  blogger friend of mine saw my posting about making your own Gesso, which is chalk paint also, and gave me this even easier recipe.  And it really works. She got the recipe from an antique dealer.  Gotta love bloggers- we're very inquisitive people.  Only costs $5.00 for a large box of plaster of paris and you can mix it with whatever color latex paint you want.  If it get's too thick while you're painting, just keep adding water as you go to thin it to the consistency of thick cream.

Next I called my neighbour ( a Fireman) to help me carry the machine outside- LOL.  It weighs a ton since the original Iron Lady sewing machine was still inside.  Once she was safely on my driveway, I vacuumed cobwebs and dust off every bit of her, then I hosed her down.  It was a very hot day, so the water dried really fast.  I'm sure I broke some antique refinishing rules by doing this, but it's for my own personal use- so- OH WELL!!!!!

Here's what she looks like before the transformation:

As you can see, she's in pretty rough shape, but still a very beautiful piece of nostalgia.  I'll be removing the sewing machine from the cabinet and cleaning her up too, but that will be another post, so stay tuned for that.

You can see how badly worn the top is, and some of the veneer is coming loose. And the iron bottom is pretty rusted.

After wrapping the cabinet in a plastic drop sheet to protect it , I gave the bottom 2 coats of flat black spray paint, and it looks 100% better already. And I have to say, I absolutely love the the Rustoleum ergonomic sprayer for the spray can- it really makes spray painting easy, and saves your hands from cramping.  I definately recommend it- only about $7.00 at Home Depot.

Here is what she looks like with her first coat of home-made chalk paint ( Behr Cottage White mixed with Plaster of Paris), and a piece of repurposed wood nailed over the empty space where I believe a drawer once was.

I added a cut-out from some paintable wallpaper and filled the holes with spackle.  I painted the drawers and edges of the cabinet, as well as the cut-outs with French Silver by Behr( also mixed with Plaster of Paris) .  Then I distrressed it and waxed it with MinWax Finishing wax in natural.

  Lots of buffing after that.

 And ..................


Meet "Mademoiselle Chloe"

I  A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y LOVE HER!!!!!!!!

Here are some close-ups of some of the detail.

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out, and I am now a Chalk Paint lover.  Of course, I will not be buying any Annie Sloan Chalk paint since it is so easy and inexpensive to make yourself. 

Until next time. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Mystery of Chalk Paint Revealed

Hello Everyone!

I'm really excited about a discovery I recently made. Ever since I read about this amazing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint my mind has been in overdrive trying to figure out what it is. You see, I have an art background, and I knew that there had to be a product already out there and readily available.  Well, I finally figured it out with a little digging and searching through the web.  It is very simply Gesso. What is Gesso you ask- it is an very old  product made out of powdered chalk, glue and water, used to prime canvases prior to painting with oil or tempera paint. You can also use it as paint, as long as you "wax " over it to protect the finish. The reason that you don't have to prime before you paint with it, is that it is, in essence a primer.  Primer is just glue.  This contains glue.  And what makes it Chalk Paint?- Chalk.  Pretty simple when you think about it. 

Annie Sloan Chalk paint
  How did I make this discovery you ask?  Well, one day I was going through some of my fav blogs and came across one where the author paints furniture with Gesso- the ready- made kind that you buy at Art and Craft stores.  This type is a synthetic product made of acrylic, but still very similar to original Gesso. I thought it looked strangely like the Chalk paint, but I couldn't be sure, so I decided to Google Gesso.

To my absolute amazement, the very first web site I came across refers to Gesso as "Chalk " paint.  It even gives you some very simple recipes for making your own, and you will be "shocked "at how inexpensive and easy it is to make.  There are 2 different types listed- original Gesso made from Animal glue , and an imitation version made out of Chalk powder, white glue- or PVA glue ( and I mean that really cheap Elmers glue) and water.  You can even add pigment to it if you want to colour it.  This is the one you will want for painting your furniture, and I will add the link so everyone can see for themselves what I saw.  It even lists one of  Annie Sloan's books as their resource for the recipe.  I really can't believe it and am still dizzy from this discovery.  Anyway, here is the link to the website, and happy experimenting with your own inexpensive "Chalk" paint.

Here is a snippet of the article just so you all know that I am "serious", and not just "delusional".

Now I realize some of you won't want to go to the bother of making your own, and kudos to Annie Sloan for coming up with a way of making  money from a very inexpensive product that has been around for centuries, but I for one will not be paying the outrageous price now that I know what it is.  I am going to make my own, and experiment - you see there are very many different methods and ways of making Gesso.  I take it as a challenge. 

Until next time.  Au Revoir.

This is an update to this post:  Late last night I decided to give making this a try.  I just couldn't wait.  Now the only things I had were reguar chalk sticks ( the kind you use to write on blackboards) and Weldbond white glue. Since it was only an experiment, I decided to make a small quantity.  I ground up the chalk with a mortar and pestal until it was very fine, added an equal amount of glue, and water and stirred.  I didn't get the chalk as finely ground as I would have liked, but that's okay because for the real thing I will buy chalk powder from Home Depot.  Then I colored it a pretty blue with a small amount of water color paint.  It was a little runny, so I added more chalk and glue and painted it onto a scrap piece of board.  I let it dry over night, and this morning I tried sanding it.

My sample board with homemade chalk paint- after sanding and waxing.

 Turns out the Weldbond is just too hard to use as the glue in this mix, but it looks really good.  I was able to sand it with a palm sander, but it was too rigid to sand by hand, so I will use regular Elmer's white glue in the actual product.  I  didn't have any paste wax, so I rubbed  the surface with an old white candle and buffed it with a cloth.  It looks great.  Now I know I can go out and buy all the right ingredients and make this paint really easily for my next furniture project.  I just knew that with a little investigating I would figure this out.  Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vintage Shabby Chic Signs - Part 2

Latey I've really gotten into making these cute vintage looking signs.  This time I made a French inspired "Patisserrie" sign :

Close-up detail

Close-up detail

Close-up detail
And this " Antiques" sign.

I just love how they turned out, and they were  really easy.  Oh, and it only cost me $5.00.  I'll give you a quick tutorial, so you can make your very own. 

Here are the supplies you'll need:

Wood in your desired size and shape ( I got mine for free from the scrap pile at Home Depot).
Wood applique's in scrolly shape( for the Pattesserie sign).
Wood glue.
Acylic or latex paint in Raw Umber and Sage Green.
Sand paper, and palm sander.
Faux finish medium ( optional)
Spray paint in Heirloom White
Drop cloth.
An old white candle.
Paint brushes- a foam one for coating the board and a fine one for the lettering.
Old toothbrush.
Hammer or screwdriver.
Stencil or font from the computer.
Lead pencil or charcoal stick.
Chain for hanging.
2 metal cup hooks or eyelets.

The first thing I did was go to my local Home Depot and look for the roughest piece of wood I could find from their scrap pile.  The one I found had a nice big crack in it, so it was perfect for the antique/shabby chic look I was going for.  They will let you have them for free if you ask, as long as you're not greedy- they let me take 2 at a time. Of course, you can use any board cut to size, but rough wood looks best. Then I bought a set of 2 decorative scrolly appliques for  about $5.00.  This was the only thing I had to buy, as I already had all the other supplies on hand. For the " Antiques " sign, I used a scrap piece of beadboard that I had left over from a previous project.

Next I used my palm sander to take off the splinters and round the corners a bit. Then glued the scrolly wood appliques to the top of the wood.  You could also put some on the bottom if you wanted.  Once the glue is dry, paint the whole front with the raw umber paint.  Let dry thoroughly.  Next take your old wax candle and rub it in random places on the edges and front of the board.  Wherever you put the wax, you will later sand off the light paint and it will look chippy and cracked, and show the dark umber paint below.  Then take the board, and chain outside and spray  with 2 or 3 coats of Heirllom White spray paint. Use the drop cloth to protect your surface.  Let this dry very well- at least 12 hours, or more if you can stand to wait.

  Once the spray paint is dry, transfer your selected font onto the front of the board.  If you're using a stencil, just use a stencil brush and light swirl the paint. Build up the layers slowly- 2 or 3 will be sufficient, as you will sand most of it off later.  If you're using a font from your computer, as I did, print out your caption and size it.  On the back side of the paper, rub the entire surface with the lead pencil or charcoal stick. Center the caption on your board and then using a lead pencil, trace around the outline of your letters.  The rubbed pencil/charcoal acts like carbon paper. Now carefully paint the lettering with the sage green paint.  I used 2 coats, letting it dry in between.  If you make any mistakes, you can take a damp Q-tip and clean up the edges of the paint.  It's really cool- it's almost like a mini paint eraser, and you can even go back and clean up edges that are almost dry. Let your lettering dry- I used acrylic paint, so it dried really quickly. 

Now you're ready to distress.  Take a hammer or screw driver and hit the board in random places to create dents- don't go overboard unless you really need to take out some " pent up frustations".  Then go over the entire board with sand paper- go lightly at first, and then build up pressure where you want more distressing.  The more you sand, the more faded your letters will be.  And all the places where you rubbed wax previously will come off really easily and leave some nice dark spots.  The thicker the wax, the more chippy it will look.  If you're happy with the look, you can stop there.

 I decided to add more layers of distressing by mixing more raw umber paint with faux finish medium and painting it over the entire surface.  Then before it dries, take an old T-shirt rage that is wet and wrung out, and wipe over the surface.  This will leave glaze in the cracks and dents and look aged.  Let this dry.  Then , if you want even more texture, take some plain  water and mix it with the green and raw umber paint ( separately).  Dip the old toothbrush in the paint, and then using your thumb, drag over the bristles of the  toothbrush, and fine droplets of paint will spray onto the board.  You might want to practice on a piece of paper first for this effect.  Let dry again.

Now you're ready to hang.  Srew in the cup hook or eyelets, then attach the chain.  Voila!!! A beautiful vintage/shabby chic sign for next to nothing.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.