Oct 142014
 
Toy box to Union Jack

Before and After

When a client dropped off an old toy box her son had outgrown and asked me to “do something” with it, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least!  It was the cutest toy chest with Nursery Rhyme scenes painted on each panel. But like my client, I know there is a time when the nursery rhyme stuff is OVER.  I was pleased with her confidence in my creative ability but I really wasn’t sure what to do with it!

Luckily, she later sent me pictures of the rooms where the box might become a coffee table.

After looking at them, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to try.  

living room copy

Client’s living room

For ages, I have wanted to try my hand at a Union Jack.  I loved what Alison  over at ReFunk My Junk did to an old trunk and I used her design as my inspiration.

calc

I printed out Alison’s photos and did the math

The toy chest needed quite a bit of preparation. The client had added texture on her vignettes: clouds and wool on sheep etc.  And may I say again …SO CUTE!

I stripped off the textured paint with a paint stripper then I proceeded to sand down the rest of the piece to a smooth finish.  I primed it using my new Home-right Paint sprayer (NO affliation).  It was one of the first projects where I used the paint sprayer and it literally took a couple of minutes!  After the primer dried, I sprayed the chest with an off white, Navajo White from BM.  (All my trim and ceilings are this colour).  I allowed it to dry a day or two and then I taped it up as per Alison’s design.

To ensure a tight seal, I brushed a coat of the off white over all the tape edges. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR A CRISP LINE!

IMG_2622

It is so important to paint over tape with backgound colour!

Starting with a  sample pot of a bright red, I mixed it with some burgundy paint, both of which I had on hand. This created a lovely deep red to work with.   I purchased a litre of SW Seaworthy.  (I have plans for the leftover paint. . Using the printed photo as a guide, I applied two coats of the colors.

When I removed the tape, I cannot tell you how excited I was!  I just loved it!

IMG_2887

I LOVE it!

I also added a couple of coats of Water Soluble, non- yellowing Diamond finish by Varathane.  (No affiliate)

Finally, to make it moveable and more “industrial”, I added 4 small caster wheels.

IMG_2891

New casters make it portable!

A mutual friend picked up the chest and dropped it off at the client’s home for me.  I seriously believe I could hear the client’s squeals of delight all the way across the city!

Union Jack toy box

Makes me want to visit the UK soon!

Don’t you love when some an attempt at a new design turns out perfectly!

chester and chest

Chester theLabradoodle pup is forever by my side!

box2

Mr Nice is a “City Fan”. Do you follow “football”?

Toy box to Union Jack

I just love this transformation and I so want to do something like this for our home

Mr. Nice is from the UK and perhaps I should do something for our home …. or maybe a Canadian Maple Leaf Flag version!

What do you think of this transformation?

Do you love Union Jack decor?

Do you have any in your home?

(NOTE:  I was rather happy the Scots lost the referendum… I would have had to change the design!  LOL!)

I love comments.  They make my day!

Joan

Sep 032014
 

I am declaring September 1st as my New Year’s Day!

September 2013 is when I began to blog in earnest meaning it is now my one year anniversary of blogging.  However, I must admit, I am not celebrating.  I am actually very disappointed in myself.  In reality I blogged, “in earnest”, up until April.  Then I fell into a slump and my entries became very sporadic to the point where this is the first entry since mid-July!  A mere 48 days!  How can I call myself a blogger and create a following if I don’t post anything???

I can certainly come up with a number of excuses…all very lame!  Sure, it was a busy summer.  Breaking my ankle and saying good bye to our lovely dog did not help.  Then a week vacation.  Preparing for Miss Nice to go off to University also occupied my mind and my energies.  Not to mention the arrival of a new fur baby, Chester.  More about him in another post.

Like I said LAME excuses.
If I were honest, I just got LAZY!

However, I did THINK about my blog often.  I’ve been thinking about:

  • the design: fonts and backgrounds.  I changed it up a few months ago but I am not completely happy
  • developing a series or two: a topic or theme I can post once a week allowing me to plan ahead
  • hosting a link party or becoming a co-host with some other bloggers.
  • but most of all, I thought about how to motivate myself to finish the b-zillion projects I have been ignoring for MONTHS!!!  After all, that was why I started the blog!  To share my passion for updating furniture, sewing, cooking and other crafty stuff.

Three days ago, we dropped Miss Nice off at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario to begin the next exciting phase in her life. 

Throughout my life, I always felt September 1st should be New Year’s Day because unlike January, so many new things happen in September.  Not just back to school but the end of the summer routine and more time indoors.  In January, it is just the same ole same ole.

So I am declaring September 1st to be is my New Year’s Day
and
my New Year’s resolution
is to get off my butt and
DO THE THINGS I LOVE! 

  • start writing posts.  I love writing and sharing!
  • finish painting the 7 pieces I have partially completed … for other people!  (My friends and family have far too much patience for me!)
  • work through the other pieces I have in the garage including some upholstery projects I was once so eager to get at.
  • organize my office! I have a wonderful, large space but it is by no means pretty.  It is a disaster.  You guessed it… a disaster of unfinished projects!
  • workout more.  My ankle is healed and getting stronger so why am I not visiting the gym.

I could go on but I will not for now.

I hope by the official New Year, I will be well on my way with these few resolutions.  Check back  in four months…

Do you agree September 1st should be New Year’s Day? 

resolution

…and a better blogger!

Happy New Year

Joan

Jul 142014
 

Earlier this summer, I decided I would give Container Gardening a try on my second story terrace.  After doing some research, I came up with some great ways to re-purpose containers I already had.

IMG_2461 copy

I wanted to try my hand at growing a  tomato plant, a pepper plant and a bunch of herbs.   In the past, I tried to grow herbs in my little garden behind the house but because we live on a ravine, critters got into the tasty plants.  Ground hogs just LOVE herbs as do deers.  So a container garden on the upper terrace was the answer.

About the same time I was planning this little garden, my neighbours put two large fiberglass plant pots out on trash day.  As one who does not like to pass up FREE stuff, I wandered over on the pretense of taking my dog out and had a look.  They were big and blue and had no drainage holes.  The latter two features could be easily remedied!  They became MINE!!  One of them would be perfect for the tomato plant which I understand needs good soil, space and lots of light.

IMG_1924

Big and baby blue.

 I also remembered I had a RED Christmas-y wine bucket in the basement that I was using for a garbage can.  Being oval and with a medallion on the front, it would add some interest.  It was part of my Spray Paint to the Rescue post and it looks great in it’s new colour.

IMG_1918

Red to Dark Bronze in minutes!

Lastly, knew I had large EMPTY Rubbermaid bins in our storage area.  These are left over from dance costume and dress up clothes storage.  A phase in our family life that is now sadly long gone!

Using my drill I made holes in the bottom of these containers.

IMG_1926

Made good use of my trusty drill

The best find I came across was at our local Dollarama (Canadian dollar store that is EVERYWHERE!) !  They had these PERFECT flower pot supports with CASTERS for $2.50 and $3!   Bargain!

IMG_1901

These pot stands were PERFECT and so affordable!

So, I used the big, previously blue pot for the tomato, a saved poinsetta pot for the pepper and the ice bucket and Rubbermaid container for my herbs.  Best of all, they are now all on wheels!

IMG_2461 copy

I love this little plant corner!

IMG_2454

If these end up ripening, they will be pricey but de-lish!

IMG_2455

This is such a tiny plant! Not sure how big these peppers will get!

IMG_2457

The herbs are doing great!

IMG_2458

The time is a bit skimpy but I added compost recently so hopefully these will florish.

So now I have TWO two natural vignettes to look at while I rest my broken tibula, drink my tea and read the news and my books! 

I am LOVING this space more and more this year.

I have been very successful with my perennial gardens but I am not too sure about this new adventure with containers.  I don’t think the terrace gets quite enough sun for the tomato but the herbs with the exception of the thyme are thriving. 

Do you do container gardening? 
Do you have some suggestions for successful container gardening. 
I plan to try it again next year too.

I love comments and read each and everyone so drop me a line!

Joan

 

NO Affiliates in this post.

Jul 112014
 

Ombre NEVER seems to lose its appeal.  We see it in everything!  I would like to share some ombre inspirations I have stumbled across…

Ombre collection copy

I recently posted a picture of my daughter in her senior prom dress.  Interestingly, it was in an ombre style.  There were a few ombre dresses at this prom and I think the style really set them apart from the “everyday” prom dress … if there can even be such a thing!

Senior Prom - OMBRE

Regardless, the dress was stunning and let’s face it, not everyone can wear GREEN and get away with it!  I certainly cannot!

This dress has inspired me to perhaps paint one of the dressers I have in the queue using  an ombre technique.  I went to Pinterest for some inspiration and I thought I would share my finds with you.

 OMBRE  IS EVERYWHERE

  • FOOD
  • BUILDINGS AND DECOR
  • FASHION
  • AND OF COURSE FURNITURE

FOOD

I have to admit, Green and Blue cake do not really appeal to me but these cakes are GORGEOUS!

BUILDINGS AND DECOR

 

FASHION

Hair, nails, fabric, shoes…

 

FURNITURE

Dressers in particular lend themselves to being painted using an ombre technique, due to the fact the drawers can each be a specific colour. 

I love the dresser on the left with shades of green on the top and shades of turquoise on the lower drawers.

The dresser on the right is very unique and shows us that all ombre treatments need to be done with paint.  Brilliant!

two shade ombre

Source

52555e14dbfa3f0dd40005df._w.406_h.540_s.fit_

Source

 

I hope you enjoyed this round up of Ombre Inspiration.  I’m not sure what shades I will choose for the dresser in my garage.  Stay tuned.

Have you ever finished a piece or wall or whatever using the ombre technique?
If you did, what colours did you use?

Love to here from you!  Comments make my day!

Joan

May 032014
 

Have you ever had a client who knew they wanted a piece painted but was just not sure of the colour?  Read on and find out how you can use a photo editor to help them….

For decades, I have dabbled in Photography. Back in the day, I even took a course on developing my own black and white film. Sadly at the time, I was in an apartment and did not really have room for a little lab. Other than that, most of what I know is self taught. You see, I am the kind of person who, when they take up an interest, gets every book I can get my hands on. This is true about PhotoShop Elements too.

As I have previously revealed, my daughter danced competitively from an early age. Competitive dance is darn pricey so when the studio photos came back looking crappy, and you had to pay in advance before you saw them, I decided it was time to do my own thing. Besides, I preferred the “live” shots we could get from the photographers at the dance competitions. Often, several moms would approach them and strike a deal, combining many entries for a lower price. With these digital photos, I would work my “magic” in Photoshop Elements. It was a labour of love because I not only loved the dancers, I loved playing and learning new techniques. As time went on, I learned more and more while Photoshop Elements improved with each version, making it easier.

I must admit my early work was a bit simple but the studio photographer was doing what I was doing and charging a small fortune. Fast forward a couple years and soon, my stuff was pretty nice and unique. Soon parents wanted me to work on their photos. And I did. But I knew I would not want to do it as a long term business, knowing we would leave the dance world in a few years. My daughter and I even dabbled in dance performance photography. She was very good because she can anticipate the moves. For example, she would know when a jump might be happening and catch it perfectly. However we both knew our love dance did not entail photographing dancers for hours on end.

Regardless, we and many of the other dance families now have amazing photos of our dancers. Here are a couple examples…

I did this one for a dance mom and daughter.  I took 4 live performance photos from a contemporary dance number (taken by the competition photographer) and created a collage with a new background.  The bottom photo lets the real floor show through, thereby not losing the lighting and shadows.

room with three frames

One of my favourites “creations” is when I  extracted my daughter from a ballet group.  Once extracted, the resolution was poor so I used a variety of techniques to make it look like a painting. I then had it printed on a  large canvas.  It is not only beautiful, it could become an heirloom (if such things still exist!)

The first photo is the live stage shot we purchased.  My daughter loved her perfect arabesque. (Note our studio was not strong in ballet so ignore the rest!)

ballet group

Group shot

 This is want I did with it.  It may not be evident but in reality, it looks like a painting.
Definitely my favourite Photoshop project!

ballet painting

Extracted and stylized as a painting

Okay, so brag time is over.  What does all this have to do with “ENVISIONING” and painting furniture??

Well, for me, it is a snap to help a client decide on a colour.  I simply upload a picture into Photoshop Elements and “colourize” the piece.

This was certainly true with a desk a client dropped off.  When I saw it, I fell in love with it.  It is very unique and I asked if she was sure she wanted to paint it.  (There will be paint haters out there who will be upset with us… but I DID ask!)  She just wants a brighter look in the room…

Here is the gorgeous piece before:

andrea before

Is this not the cutest desk?? Inside the doors are cubbies!

She had some colour ideas but could not decide.  So being a diplomatic person, I decided to help her. 

  1. I uploaded the file in Photoshop Elements
  2. Using the Quick Selection tool, I selected the desk and de-selected the windows in the doors and the desk top which will remain wood.
  3. I added a layer, reduced the opacity to 70% or so and then filled the selection with colour.

I sent her the following renditions based on her ideas:

blue

Blue

fushia

Fushia

grey

Grey

red

Red

As you can see it is very crude but it only took me 10 minutes!  She loved that she could visualize how it would look after. 

Which one do you like? 
There is a chair and its upholstery in the equation too.

Have you used a photo editor to help you or you client visualize? 

Leave me a comment and tell me about it.  I LOVE COMMENTS!!

Stay tuned and come back to see the result!

Joan

Apr 102014
 

I have replaced damaged caning in both wicker and wood furniture and thought I would share my not so sophisticated method with you.

In all cases, the cane I replaced was a seat, surrounded by a wood frame.   Many people, seeing damaged cane like the photo below will cut a piece of wood and simple cover the seat.  I suppose if it always has a cushion hiding it, it doesn’t matter.  Personally, I love cane and  replacing it is far easier than you may think.

IMG_0408

Original Damaged Seat.

The first step is to remove the old caning.  Depending on the age of the piece, this can be easy or very difficult.  In the case of a wicker chair I refinished, it was easy.  With some coaxing (chiseling) at the spline, which holds the cane in the groove, I was able to pull out the old caning relatively easily.  In the case of the antique rocker above, the glue used in days gone by was like titanium!   I needed to resort to nail polish remover and a drill.  I even broke a couple of bits in the process!  I am sorry I have no pictures of this task.  It was a frustrating adventure where photos were not foremost on my mind 🙂 

Once you remove the old cane, be sure the channel / groove is clean so the cane and new spline can be inserted. 

I purchased both the sheet of pre-woven cane material and the spline at Lee Valley Tools, which, luckily for me is a 10 minute drive from my home.  You can also order it online here.  (Note:  I have no affiliation with Lee Valley Tools.  They are just a great store!)

Before you begin,  the caning and the spline both need to soak in water for a few hours or in my case,  if you get busy, a day or two!  Regardless, it needs to be soft and pliable.

I began by testing that the spline will easily go into the groove and cut the spline to size with an additional 1/2 inch.  In my first attempt at replacing a cane seat, I cut the spline about 1/4 inch too short and I was very annoyed to see the tiny gap.

IMG_0083

Measuring the spline. Add a bit extra and cut the excess once inserted

Once you are ready to work, cut the caned sheet roughly the size of the opening with a good 1.5 t0 2 inch border all around.

IMG_0084

Lay the caning sheet in place, centered.  Begin on the straight sections of the groove and insert the caning into the groove.

THIS IS WHERE WE CAN GET CREATIVE!   There are tools for this.  But I used what I could find at home.  For one project, I used a metal spatula to push the cane into the groove.

For this chair, I happened to have a pack of SHIMS on hand and they definitely fit the bill.  I simply cut the thin ends off to the appropriate width and tapped them in with a hammer.

IMG_0093

Cut the shims to an appropriate with and tapped them into the groove.

IMG_0095

I worked around the opening, making sure the cane was taunt

(BTW:  that hammer was my dad’s and it’s over 70 years old!)

Once you have pushed the cane material securely into the groove, you need to cut away the excess, just below the top of the groove.  This is a daunting step.  You need a VERY SHARP exacto blade or box cutter.  The caning can begin to unravel a bit so it is important to get a nice clean cut.  Try very hard to make sure the cut is just below the top.  The few stragglers still sticking up can be trimmed later.

IMG_0097

Cut the excess cane away, just below the outer lip of the groove.

Now it is time to insert the spline.  Use a wood or all purpose glue, one that dries clear and run a generous bead inside the groove, on top of the cane.

Then begin to insert the spline.  Start at the centre of the back and work your way around.

IMG_0098

Insert the spline, starting at the centre of the back of the opening.

I wrapped a rag around the hammer so I would not damage the wood when I tapped in the spline.

Once you reach the beginning, cut the spline to the correct size.   Be sure to tap all around to ensure the spline is well inserted and then let the glue dry!

That’s it!

IMG_0102

Not counting the terrible time I had removing the old cane seat, I think this job took me just over an hour to complete!

From what I have read, cane is meant be left natural and colour with age.  However, it can be stained but only on the top.  It needs to breathe.  I am thinking of staining this seat since the chair is so dark. 

What do you think:  stain or leave au natural?

Have you ever replaced a cane seat?

If you try it, let me know how it goes for you. 

Why cover the damaged seat with wood when replacing the caning is so easy!

I think this chair is definitely Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

Apr 062014
 

Some pieces are just not meant to be painted.  Or are they?  There are occasions when I  paint a piece of furniture and post it on this blog and someone will comment that I “ruined” the piece.   I too am guilty of this thought.  Just recently, I saw a very unique mid century console on Craigslist where the shop had “ruined” the piece with an ugly shade of brown paint and was still asking an very high, typical MCM price.  Regardless, HEY! it’s furniture and the owner can do as they please.  Life’s too short to worry about someone else’s furniture.

Back in October, before winter hit us hard, I shared with you a lovely rocking chair I had acquired.  It came to me with a damaged cane seat but everything else was in amazing original condition.  There was evidence of a repair on one leg and it was obviously old but very well made and still VERY sturdy.  Not a wobble to be found.  Upon examination, I found a very faded label indicating the chair was manufactured by Heywood Brothers, a prestigious, prominent furniture manufacturer in the US.  A bit of internet research indicated the Baltimore plant operated  from 1897 to 1921 so I believe this chair is a true 100 year old “antique”.

However, it was really dark and dated.  I really like to paint things to bring them to life.  I started out really wanting to paint it but I just could not.  Somehow, it seemed like an easy way out! 

I posted a blog post asking  readers what to do and it was pretty unanimous that I should leave it in original state and get an estimate.  So I did.  The assessment said, if I kept it in an original condition, with a new cane seat, it should sell for $200 to $400 in a good market!  WOW!

I have replaced  cane seats before so that did not faze me.  I began removing the old cane and it was not easy!  I had to resort to nail polish remover to break up the glue which sadly disfigured the wood around the opening. 

Last week, I FINALLY got around to finishing it up.  Before tackling the cane seat, I did some light sanding and stained areas that were worn and needed to be stained.  Then coated the piece with varathane.  In the end, the transformation was way easier than I anticipated and the result is beautiful…

BEFORE
Heywood03

Isn't she beautiful?

Isn’t she beautiful?

Heywood06

AFTER

IMG_0104

I love the richness of the wood finish.

IMG_0103

The pressback design is gorgeous!

IMG_0102

New cane seat

IMG_0099

I feel as if this is how it looked 100 years ago!

I would like to stain the caning but most articles suggest leaving it natural. 
I will let the new owner decide… IF I sell it LOL!

Do you love it! 

What was I thinking when I wanted to paint it!??! 

Yes it may not be to many people’s taste but there is beauty in keeping it original!

 

I still love to paint furniture giving it NEW LIFE  but perhaps sometimes we should consider giving it its OLD LIFE back again!

 

Have you ever changed your mind after being determined to paint something?
Or have you regretted painting something and wished you have restored it instead? 
I’d love to hear from you!

 

This piece gives me goosebumps, as if I “SAVED” it somehow
so it can continue to live a long life! 

 

Is this piece NICER THAN NEW? 
DEFINITELY!

 

Joan

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com