Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chicken wire frames

So here's my take on a fun tutorial.  A few people down at Persnickety's  have mentioned that they would like some card holders/displays now that the holidays are approaching.  So my girl Mandi and I thought, hey, we have some empty frames hanging out, why not try the whole chicken wire thing and see how that goes.  She supplied some frames and the chicken wire, I did the following....
First I put out a little "poll" on my fb page, asking what colors people would be interested in if I were to venture down this path.  I got a bunch of great responses and started painting away.  The one I started with was a Christmas themed was white to begin with, and I decided to tape it off so I could add some stripes.
Some cute red and green stripes to be specific.  Now I will say there was no rhyme or reason to my stripes, just kinda taped at random intervals.
Once it was all dried I pulled the tape off, did a light sanding and did a coat of wax to seal it (and all the other frames I painted) up.  When all my frames were done I headed out to the garage to start cutting the wire.  When you buy chicken wire it's all shiny and new, and that's not really the look I was going for.
See, shiny, new wire, doesn't really go well with cute distressed frames.
There are actually 2 steps to this process, but I only used 1 of the 2 products.  The "antiquer" instantly turns the wire black, which is helpful so you can see where you've applied it and where you haven't.  It doesn't stay black, as it dries, it turns a cool vintagey wire color.
I forgot to mention that before you apply this you should have cut your wire from the roll, if you bought a roll.  I didn't really measure mine, I just laid it out and cut maybe a half inch wider than what I thought I would need, just in case.  Once the wire was dry I grabbed my staple gun and started stapling away.  Again, no rhyme or reason, just where I thought it looked like it needed it.
I will say that after my first (failed) attempt at this I learned that you need to staple on the outside of the frame.  Otherwise this happens...
If you try to staple on the inside of the frame, the staples go all the way through.  Then you curse yourself and get really frustrated and may throw something....
Plus I discovered that the inside edge doesn't really provide a lot of room for cleaning up your wire.  So remember, OUTSIDE edge of the frame :)
Once you get everything stapled into place you'll probably have something that looks like this..
What I opted to do was take my handy wire snippers, trim the ones that were really long and then twist the others around the staples just to give it that added oomph, to keep it in place.

Then it looks a little more finished, and you can worry less about all that stapling being in vain.  So what I learned was DO NOT staple on the inside edge of the frame, antique your wire for a "cooler" vintage look, trim and twist your wire, and then sit back and enjoy your finished work!!
Since today is Thanksgiving, I grabbed some of my 1st grader's turkey and owl artwork and clipped them on with clothespins.
Same artwork, just a larger frame I did.  How cute would this be with all those great Christmas cards that will start rolling in soon??
Or a smaller frame for your earrings or jewelry?
I did 6 of these frames in total, varying colors and sizes, all heading down to Persnickety's for the Holiday Open House on Saturday.  If you're local you should come check it out 11-7.  LOTS of goodies like these, and SO many more!!
Hope you all enjoy the upcoming holidays!!
I was featured...
Four Marrs & One Venus

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My schizophrenic project

I've had some serious inner dialogue going while working on this project, but most of it I can't print.  This dresser was a major test for me.  I wish I could say this was the first time I had to strip the paint off of something before I could start putting "my touches" on it.  But that's not the case.  Working on Alfred basically made me a professional furniture stripper, or at least I thought so.  But this sucker had nothing on Alfred.  I couldn't even name this dresser, because all the names I came up with consisted of 4 letters, and while I generally appreciate a good potty mouth, I will keep it clean. 
I found this dresser on Craigslist. 
Has such a great shape, awesome original hardware, and CASTERS!!
That's right, CASTERS!!  Good old wooden ones, attached by rusty old metal.  I love anything with casters.  So when my hubs picked this up and brought it home for me AND it had casters I was sooooo excited!
From it's before picture, it actually doesn't look too bad.  What you can't see up close is that the paint is about 4 inches thick, splattered, and bubbly, everywhere.  Once again I foolishly thought I could just sand it down and get to work.  And once again I was wrong.  Oh, so very wrong.  If my last project was painted with the devil's paintbrush, then I'm pretty sure this dresser was painted by every single member of Hell, twice!
So out came the stripper.....again!
It took me 4 flipping days to strip all the paint off of the top, sides, and 3 drawers.  Granted they weren't 12 hour days by any stretch.  But I learned that my fingers will only let me strip furniture for about 4 and a half hours straight before just giving out.  I almost cried when I got all the paint off this sucker!
Ok this is a really bad picture, but I was so excited to get the paint off, that I had to hurry up and take a picture before I grabbed the paint brush.  There were 4 coats of paint on this thing, and under all that crazy thick paint were some dings and owies that I didn't expect.  So before I could paint I had to attempt to fill in some of the dings, and give it a good all over sanding. Then I could paint...
There's lots of cute grey stuff going on down at Persnickety's, and I didn't want to be left out, so I jumped on the grey bandwagon.
But I also wanted to put my own spin on it.  So I attempted ombre drawers.  Then I got really schizophrenic and distressed the heck out of it, oh and tried using dark wax for the very first time too.  So there's definitely a lot going on, but after all that hard work I think it turned out pretty great.  For those of you looking for the specifics all the colors I used were custom mixed up by me, turned chalk paint.  Then of course I sealed it all up with 2 coats of wax.
  I also added some super cute clear knobs to the top drawer, the knobs it came with where boring icky plastic ones.  But the other 2 drawers had awesome giant knobs that were original that I actually love.  Besides the casters, the humongous knobs are my favorite thing! 
Dropped this dresser off at Persnickety's this afternoon, go check it out. 
 I am focusing on little stuff for the awesome open house next weekend the watch for a possible tutorial on something fun, I swear.... and here are the rest of the pictures I know you're dying to see :)



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's in a name?

So I had a blog all planned about creative storage solutions, but that would require downloading and editing photos and truth be told I'm beat from another day of stripping paint off of a demon dresser. 
Instead I thought I'd talk about how my business/blog got it's name.  Some bloggers have names that describe their style like The Modern Cottage Company.  Alison at MCC likes the blend of modern in her color choices applied to a "cottage" style.  She does amazing work, is a huge inspiration to me, and someone I actually know, and not just cyber-stalk.  Then there's the AMAZING Miss Mustard Seed.  Her name comes from biblical inspiration and I am a HUGE fan of hers!!  She has her own brand of milk paint, and even just released a book, which is going on my Christmas list.  I read her blog and follow her on fb, and pretty sure I would freak out and cry if I ever met her.  Another local (to me) blogger is Rachel at Holy Craft.  To me her name is great, tells you that she's crafty and she has a sense of humor!  I met her at Persnickety's and instantly started following her awesome blog and fb page.  She gives you all kinds of tips and tricks, does tutorials on amazing hand crafts, and is generally just pretty cool!  And speaking of Persnickety's I couldn't possibly leave her out.  Such a fun name right?  Who doesn't smile when they say Persnickety's Awesomeness Emporium?  It's a spin on a family business handed down to my friend Mandi.  What was once Persnickety Gifts, is now the awesomeness I LOVE! 
That's where my story begins (kind of).  When all of this was just beginning and Mandi asked me if I would bring stuff to her shop she mentioned that I should come up with a name for myself.  A way for her to know who's pieces and handcrafts belonged to whom.  Hmm.....I had no clue, not a single thought in my head about what to call myself.  Mandi says "Ooh, ooh, you should totally call yourself Good one, Den!"  I instantly start laughing and say somewhat hesitantly "OK".  The more I think about it and say it out loud, the more I like it.  But there's a back story.  I should put this disclaimer out there though....I occasionally think I'm pretty funny, and I either have really nice friends who laugh along to be courteous, or great friends who think I'm funny too.  I really only believe the latter, but you never know right :)
The last time I worked a full-time job outside of the home was 10 (long) years ago.  I was pregnant with my oldest son, worked in accounting and begrudgingly drove from Puyallup to Kirkland EVERY day.  The drive was awful, really, really awful.  For those of you from WA and familiar with the number of freeways I had to travel (4, sometimes 5) can sympathize I'm sure.  For those of you not familiar with the area, trust me, it was BAD!  So most of the time I could entertain myself with music or coming up with excuses to tell the police officer that would pull me over for illegally being in the carpool lane, "uh, I'm going into early labor", "my water just broke", "I gotta pee".  I never actually got in the carpool lane, OK, maybe just once, and I really did have to pee.  I also had all kinds of food in my car.  When you're pregnant you're hungry ALL the time, so that provided distraction as well.  But back to the story. 
One particularly bad drive home I was stuck in crazy stopped traffic.  Completely stopped.  For at least a half hour.  Who knows, could've been more, could've been less.  I was annoyed with my CD selection, out of make-believe excuses, and my box of triscuits were empty.  So I started making up conversations for the people also stuck in traffic around me.  Now I should say I also believe in "car karma".  If you put your signal on and want to get over and don't try to cut me off, I'm totally letting you over.  Cause hopefully someone will do the same for me.  So while I'm having these conversations someone in front of me puts on their signal.  I don't make a move, letting the cars in front of me inch ahead and trying to make room for the car to get over.  Suddenly, traffic starts to move and there are at least 3 or 4 car lengths of space in front of me, but my "friend" hasn't gotten over yet.  So I look over and this guy is looking at me, I smile and nod letting him know he can get over.  Not exactly sure how it all went down without causing any major accidents or more back ups, but I swear he straddled the center line and took at least 20 minutes to get over, geesh! So I say to myself, "Took ya forever to get over.  What were you waiting for an invitation, or were you hoping to get it engraved??"  Not super funny, I admit, but I follow that sentence up with(still to myself of course) "Good one, Den!"  And I gave myself a high five.  Yep!  A self five!  Then I crack up at how completely insane I sound and must look!  Because a) I'm talking to myself like it's a normal occurrence, b) I'm referring to myself in the 3rd person, and c) I called myself Den, not Denniel. I admit the story is a little anti-climactic, but when I later retold the story on myself to not only my husband, but also to Mandi, they died laughing at my idiocy.  Now the story lives in infamy.  Any time I do or say something stupid and one of them is around I get a "Good one, Den", self five included.  And when I'm being a complete dork, I'll say it yet again to myself :) 
Now you too are privy at how dorky I am, and I hope you at least got a chuckle out my silliness.
These are the first tags I made for the shop.  I even gave it a "high-five" sticker :)
Where did your blog name come from?  What inspires you?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Oh Alfred!

I know you've all seen Alfred before...He was a great Craigslist find and the focus of my last post about stripper.  Again I didn't say "a" stripper....although after watching Magic Mike this last week, that would've been WAY better :)  Anyhow, here he is, in his FINAL before pic.
All dingy and dirty and in need of some help.  I know I've mentioned it before but I like to try to do any research I can when I get a new piece.  It's kind of fun for me to find out when (about) it was made, if I can find it.  This guy is a 1955ish Heywood-Wakefield.  I say "ish" because while researching I discovered this one was part of the Cadence line that was manufactured from 1955-1959.  Still pretty cool that it has some history.  While scouring for information I found that there are lots of Heywood purists, who would probably scream their faces off if they knew I planned to paint it.  But painting is what I do, and if there was a chance I could've restored it with minimal effort, I would've.  But remember the stripper incident...
So ya, I knew I was gonna paint it.  The wood underneath all that paint wasn't nice enough to restore.  But the original mangy paint that was on it inspired me to do it in black.  His lines are strong and masculine.  Black just seemed fitting.  And yes once again I've named the furniture.  I will divulge(much to husband's dismay) that Alfred is a family name.  My hubby's grandpa is Alfred, and my father-in-law and husband share the middle name Alfred.  But all that aside, I still instantly think of the butler on Batman :) 
So I'm sure you're scrolling through, saying, alright, alright just show me the pictures already...patience.  In case you wanted to know I used Valspar's Lincoln Cottage Black.  It's kind of become my favorite/go to black paint.  Oh, and yes I turned it into chalk paint.  So much easier to work with, and really does cover well!  After 2 coats of paint, using a fine grit sanding block in between, I did some minor distressing.  Then 2 coats of wax to seal it up. 
Due to his age he was missing a drawer, and ironically a "matching" drawer was broken. I knew right away I wanted to get baskets for it. Just made it look a little more complete, with the missing drawers. I did paint the insides of the missing parts just to unify it.  But searching for baskets became an obsession, which frustrated the heck out of me.  Luckily a trip to Homegoods was successful and the obsession was quelled!!  I also had to find new hardware for this guy.  The before pic looks like it has those cool teardrop type of pulls, but no, those would be knobs attached to crazy bent screws.  I didn't want to detract from his shape with fancy knobs, so I just got some wood ones and painted them to match.  This project was definitely a learning one for me.  I learned that I will never strip a piece of furniture again, if I can help it.  And I also learned that I will do my best to stay away from pieces missing drawers.  Too much obsession time wasted looking for those darn baskets :)
Ready?  Here he is, all done up.  Just dropped him at the shop this morning!!

So, what do you think?  What projects have taught you lessons you won't soon forget?  Stay tuned to see what I come up with next!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Working with Stripper

I can't even say the word stripper without cracking up, or getting some kind of weird visual.  But I'm talking about paint stripper this time around.  The only similarities between the two are that split second of instant gratification that comes right before you just feel dirty and need to shower.  And as I'm typing this, please know that I am fresh from a shower :) 
I think you've seen this guy once before, maybe when I bravely(and mistakenly) posted about the "jinx".  But this guy is the sole reason I'm working with stripper.

This is Alfred.  He is big and heavy, and really well made, and will eventually be distinguished like his name implies.  He's also a vintage 1950s Heywood Wakefield that I scored from Craigslist. 
He was also painted by Satan, with a paintbrush made from demon fire and a paint combination that must be lead, concrete, wallpaper glue, spray paint, and death.  You look at the picture and think, ok, he's a little rough, he's got some dings, can't be that bad.  Well, I made that mistake too.  I pulled out my sander thinking that just sanding away would be the way to go.  WRONG!  Sanding it just made a black film fly everywhere, and stick to my body.  It also made the top look as if it spent the last 50 years in the only remaining leper colony. 
So I texted my girl Mandi at Persnickety's, remembering a hilarious conversation we had about stripper and knew she'd have the info I needed.  She said to use this.

So I went and got it and a handy putty knife/scraping thingy.  I read the directions and felt ready to go.  Directions say to apply in a small area and wait 15 minutes.  I did exactly that.  Only the angry top layer of paint came off, and it took ALOT of elbow grease.
Then I realized that sometimes directions are more like guidelines, or jumping off points.  Like sometimes how your oven cooks a little hotter so you have to adjust the time and temp.  Well I needed to adjust my timing as well.  I double checked the directions and did notice that it said something about "stubborn" paint could require more applications.  Well this is Satan paint.  And for whatever reason 15 minutes in my garage just caused the stripper to dry completely up and require all that elbow grease.  I finally timed it just right and 7-8 minutes actually works better for me.  That was of course after several tries of getting the timing right.
First there was 10 minutes.....
This resulted in gross clumps of yucky.  Think of vampires getting killed.  I don't mean like on Buffy where they poofed into a cloud of dust.  I'm talking True Blood where they explode into that black/red sticky disgusting goo(this realization was given to me by Mandi during our previous stripper conversation).  It is the most accurate and hilarious description I have ever heard!
Then came about 9 minutes....

Not quite perfectly removed, but so much better than that whole gooey mess.  Now I will say that overall it's kind of a gross process, and there is a lot of goo.  But when you time it just right it comes off so much easier, and the goo is way more manageable.
At about 7-8 minutes this is the final product..
I did have to go back over it with my scraper and get the stuff that was kind of hanging on, but apparently timing is everything.
This is Alfred's top after all that elbow grease and getting my timing down.
The wood isn't in the best shape.  But I can't imagine how I'd look after Satan painted me with his demon fire paintbrush.  Once the rest of the drawers are done I'll need to resand everything and start on the fun part, the painting of course!!
Stay tuned next week for Alfred's big reveal!!
All opinions of this product are my own, I was not paid or compensated in any way!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A small(s) week

I know I said a while ago that I would start working on that massive Heywood that I found on Craigslist.....but I just haven't gotten started.  I think after all the work I did on Ethel I haven't found the motivation to tackle another big project.
So this week I've been working on some small stuff, which we call "smalls".  You know, the stuff that fills the walls and allows us to somewhat stage photos.  All those cool vintage finds, old frames we love to paint, knick-knack type thingys.  The stuff that makes Persnickety's look more like a fun place to shop versus a stark furniture warehouse. 
I found a new place in Tacoma and it had lots of goodies.....
like this vintage American Family food scale

and this cloche with a base....
the base was a little banged up so I decided to paint it with chalkboard paint, to give it some personality :)
Could even personalize it with a cute cupcake and message for someones birthday, but for now it's Halloween themed, like everything else in my house :)
Or just use the cloche all by itself.  Would be cute with some mini gourds for fall, or my tiny collection of pine cones.  I've even seen a collection of baseballs in the spring, and I imagine some cute ornaments for Christmas.
I also found these
they were originally gold and had some "interesting" art work....I though they would look so much better with a couple coats of aqua chalk paint....
look at this cute detail
ok this isn't the best picture, but I swear it's really cute!!
Today I met up with my friend Alison at The Modern Cottage Company to drop off her custom order of 20(yes 20) pillow covers.  Which has kept me busy this last week, but I was so excited to do something to essentially "grow" my little business.
This is what a stack of completed pillow covers looks like
Alison had some really great fabrics and these will be available at her store soon! 
But I digress, for whatever reason our meeting spot has become a local Value Village, so OF COURSE I had to go inside to make sure I wasn't missing anything. 
And I found these guys
Vintage Ball jelly jars, with super cute (original) lids!
I grabbed the blue, white and green and found the crate they're in too!
So there's my random finds for the week, guess it matches my random post. 
Oh for anyone who is wondering, I DID jinx myself.  Since my "jinx" post I haven't found a single thing on Craigslist :)  But that's ok, I'm finding fun new places to search for treasures.  And I'm putting it out there to hold myself accountable, I WILL start working on the Heywood next week!
Stay tuned to see it's progress


Sunday, September 30, 2012

All About Ethel!!

Where do I even begin?  Hmm....ok, ok, I know
I "found" a table and chairs set during my daily stalking of Craigslist a few weeks ago.  It had great details and shape and once I saw it, I kept going back to the post trying to see if there was something I missed the other 100 times I'd drooled over it.  I wanted it real, real bad, but wasn't sure it was something I wanted to tackle.  I stressed myself out about it for a day or two, even asking anyone with any furniture know how in my path if they thought I should get it and redo it for the shop.  Before even deciding to buy it, I needed to test the waters and see if the seller would lower the price at all. Because I am now a master negotiator thanks to the skills I've learned from the lovely Rachel at Holy Craft(she has a post all about the art of getting a good deal).  It took a few days before I got a response, but the seller was willing to lower the price to what I deemed affordable.  I almost started jumping up and down, but first I needed to recruit my husband to help me pick it up, and convince him that it really was a "bargain".
Who doesn't love a great table top??  And AMAZING legs.  I'll be honest, the top could've been beyond saving, but I couldn't walk away from these legs...
Or the details on these chairs.  Once I got this home I even told my friend Mandi that I was in project heaven.  I know, I had NO idea how much work would be involved, but I was basking in the giddy glow of such awesome pieces.  While opening and closing the table and looking at it's underside I saw it's Manufacturer's label, and it was locally made, a LONG time ago, but still local. 
This set was made by Gregory Furniture Mfg Co, in Tacoma, WA.  The most info I could find courtesy of Google was that this specific label meant it was made between 1916 and 1940.  After 1940 Gregory Furniture became Gregory and Butler.  But at her youngest that made the table and chairs 72 years old.  How cool is that???  If you've read any of my other posts you know that I like to assign gender to the stuff I work on :)  Of course this set is ALL female, with rosettes and curvy legs, how could she not be.  Well after researching I decided something that was made so well to last so long, deserved a name too.  Not sure how I decided on Ethel, but that is her name.  If by chance you follow me on facebook, you know all my recent posts have been all about Ethel.  My kids have asked me daily for the last 2 weeks...."How's Ethel coming mom?"  And all my friends know EXACTLY what I'm talking about when I say her name :)  But I digress...
From the moment I saw her I had a clear vision of what she'd look like once I gave her a makeover.  I knew I would sand and re stain the top, and paint the table base and chairs white.  Of course from vision in my head to reality doesn't always translate as what if it took 4 coats of stain and daily stressing before I could declare the top finished.

And so what if painting a table with 6 legs, and 4 chairs is crazy hard work...not to mention recovering 4 seats with fabric.  But that actually seemed like the easy part compared to ALL the painting I did.  I made sure that every coat of stain had a full 24 hours to dry, which of course gave me time to paint all those amazing details.  I ended up doing 2 coats of Minwax Ebony stain, and 2 coats of Minwax Dark Walnut.  And everything else was painted with my Sherwin Williams Reliable White, turned chalk paint.  The chairs, table legs, and base were all sealed with a paste wax, and the table top with 3 coats of poly made specifically for oil based stain.  Of course I didn't have said poly, but the amazing Mandi at Persnickety's did.  So I loaded Ethel up and drove her down to the shop.
As we like to call it, a fun round of car jenga was in order :)  This may have been the hardest I've ever worked on a project, but I'm really proud of myself for getting through it, not quitting when I got stressed or frustrated, and creating something that I think turned out pretty amazing!!  I know, you're thinking enough info, just show us the table....So here you go, some eye candy of Ethel in all her glory.  She's at the shop now and available for purchase. 
Hope you come along to see what I conjure up next!!
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