Monday, July 30, 2012

Chalk Board Lettering

It has been a goal of mine to improve my chalk board lettering for some time now.  I ave seen Dana Tanamachi's chalk art all over Pinterest and have been so inspired:

Here are a few examples:

(all images are from Dana Tanamachi's website.)

Aren't they beautiful?

However, no matter how much I practiced, I could not get good clean, dark lines or sharp edges.

So when I saw this pin from In My Own Style I clicked over lickity-split!

tips & tricks to help you write on a chalkboard like a professional

So after reading these tips from Diane, I got out my chalk board and chalk and work on my sign for next month's (in two days) Artisans in the Grove.

It is no Dana Tanamachi, but it looks a ton better than even my best try in the past.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summertime = Red Raspberry Jam

Well, we don't have access to hundreds of pounds of fresh free fruit this year, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to can!

Isn't raspberry jam the prettiest?  This is actually raspberry/cherry/plum jam.  It is SO good!  We've also done strawberry freezer jam (lots and lots of it, it's our favorite) as well as raspberry freezer jam, and raspberry/ peach and raspberry/ blueberry cooked jam. 

Raspberry- Cherry- Plum Jam

3 cups crushed red raspberries
1 cup crushed Bing Cherries
1 cup crushed purple plums
4 cups sugar
1 box of pectin
a bit of olive oil

Cook the fruit and sugar together, stirring often, until they reach a rolling boil.  Then continue to cook, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes- add a bit of olive oil if there is too much foam.  Add your pectin (I like MCP brand) and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  (Be sure to follow the directions on your pectin box- they vary.)  Ladle into hot half pint jars, wipe the rims, add hot lids and rims and process in a water bath or steamer for 10 minutes. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Lorraine - French Country Sweetheart Dresser

Lorraine was quite pretty when she came to me. . . However, she still had the look of an awkward teenager.  Her drawer fronts were stained a bright red and since her original top had split, a top with a light maple veneer had been glued over the top of her.  She was ready and needed a little help transitioning to a lovely young lady.

After a good cleaning, a de-glossing, and some gray primer over the parts of her that were red, I painted her a warm white color (Behr's Magnolia Blossom - which I had mixed into a chalk paint.)

I then randomly applied three washes in increasingly brownish cream colors (I simply mixed a bit of brown or yellow ocher into a bit of watered down cream.)

 I used a clean brush with water to blend the colors while they were still wet.

Then I distressed her - and let me tell you what, that paint did not want to come off.  I would have liked her to be a bit more distressed, but she really wanted to hang onto her new coat of paint!
I love her legs and antique casters.  So sweet.

I painted the top in several coats of Ace's Besalt and sanded between each coat.

Here's a close up of the applique on the cabinet door.  You can tell it was hand carved.   

I finished her off with a coat of dark wax.  I buffed the entire thing, but the top I buffed with a horse hair brush (the kind men use the shine their shoes) to give it some extra gleam.

I also tried something new and exciting on the hardware for this piece.  I had my own little alchemy/ chemistry project going on in my kitchen.  The top is before, the bottom is after.  I'll post a how-to on how to get old brass handles that beautiful, warm, brownish color soon.


Lorraine is for sale.  You can see pricing an dimensions on my Portfolio and Available page.   You may also see other pieces I have revived on that page.


I will be sharing Lorraine at the following link parties:
You're Talking Too Much's Meet Me Monday
Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday 
The Dedicated House: Make it Pretty Monday 
Primitive and Proper's: Piece of Work Wednesday 
Elizabeth and Co's: Be Inspired  
Domestically Speaking's: Power of Paint 
Miss Mustard Seed's: Furniture Feature Friday 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quaint Country Church Pew (ish) Bench - "Grace"

Oh this cute little bench was in such sad shape when she came to me.  She had a lot of random holes drilled into her and a dated yellow oak finish.  I don't know what her seat was originally made of, or if it had a cushion on it, but it was the only part of her made of particle board and made the rest of her lovely wood look cheap and unfinished.

 First I gave her a coat of a warm white followed by a patchy coat of a lovely dusty blue.

I wanted her to bring to mind all of the emotions that an old church pew has seen, the joys of weddings and christenings, the tears of funeral, and the fellowship of friendships forged over years and years.

She got a good heavy distressing, and much to my delight, the paint started chipping off in places instead of just sanding off.  Then I covered her with a layer of Minwax's Dark Walnut Stain to age the paint, darken the exposed wood, and protect the finish from any further chipping away.

I considered just making her a removable cushion, but I looked at that sad particle board seat and knew I just had to cover it up once and for all.  I glued down two layers of foam, then upholstered over it directly to the top of the seat with two layers of batting and a simple cream cotton.

I covered the staples with a double layer of trim, first in gray, then in tan.

When I was done the cream fabric just looked too new and bright in comparison to the bench, so of course, I turned to my paint and brushes for a solution.  I first stenciled the designs onto the fabric in blue, dry brushed the entire cushion with the blue, then went back with my artists brushes with a warm cream and added some depth and detail.

I am very happy with how it turned out.  Happy Accidents, FTW!!!

The bench top opens to reveal a bright little surprise inside.

The back, where, if her imaginary life in an old church was anything like the church pews at our church, she has been kicked 2.3 million times by little toddler feet.

I've always wanted a church pew to sit on my front porch.  This one isn't the right fit for me (not that I have any room on my tiny front porch anyway) but I think she will make a charming addition to someone's sweet farmhouse, beach house, or flea market/eclectic decor.


Grace is for sale.  See my Available/Portfolio page for details.

Do you like what you see?  I refinish a lot of furniture as well as smaller treasures.  Follow my blog to keep up on my latest project or adventure!


I am sharing this project at:
Domestically Speaking's Power of Paint
Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hill Theatre Antique Mall

I've mentioned that I have a space in Hill Theatre Antique Mall in Hillsboro, haven't I?  Well, if I haven't I am now!

I did a big update on my space this weekend and I thought it turned out cute AND I remembered to take a photo, so I thought I'd show you!

There are some other new vendors with similar style to mine, so there is a lot to see. Stop by. My space is upstairs on the left side of the balcony. Check out Hill Theatre's fb page too.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spray Paint Day

Today is a spray paint day for me.  I thought I'd show you what that looks like.

I gather items that I like the shape of, mirrors, frames and other items I think will look good with an update in my disaster of a garage until I have a good collection of things.  Then I wait for a nice still day (I don't want to spray paint my neighbors' cars) and pull out my three spray painting drop cloths and arrange my collection atop them on my driveway.

This shot is from about half way through my painting.  I rarely know what color I'm going to paint something before this. So I move things around as I paint to be near things that I might want to paint the same color.  There is no real organization.  It depends on the colors of spray paint I have on hand (I usually have a stash of at least 20 cans) and if there are any pieces of furniture I want to paint items to coordinate with.

Spray paint is never the end result for me.  I use it as simply a colored base coat.  When everything is painted, dried and has sat for a few days to off gas the smell, I move the whole shebang inside where I drive Lincoln and myself insane for a few days while I glaze, distress, wash, scrape, clean, paint with a brush until everything is done.  (It is during that stage that we both know why I need both a workshop and a studio.  I am high maintenance in my own strange way, I guess.)

OK, I'm off to paint some more.  It isn't too hot here, but even at 75 degrees and humidity I'm feeling the need to periodically come in, cool off, and drink lots of water.  Those of you in the rest of the country, keep cool and hydrated.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Door Table (is that like a wall flower???)

I've noticed that my coffee tables never sell at shows, I I think I know why.  I use them as displays.  I think people don't notice the table because they are looking at what is on the table, or they don't want to take away my display table, and may not even know it's for sale.

So, I came up with a solution.  I built a simple yet awesome display coffee table so that if I have another coffee table I can display it on its own and this one will remain for my display.

Here's the top!  I found this cool/strange old door at the RE-Store.  It was a kind of Dutch door, but only the top 18 inches or so opened.  Strange, huh?  Anyway this made it the perfect length for a largish, but not huge coffee/display table.

I screwed four legs that I found at good will to the bottom and that's it.  No painting, nothing, just like that.

Here she is in action, and just to make her feel good, she did get noticed quite a bit.

Here is a close up of her 'charges.'  She did an excellent job displaying the little pretty things.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back from the Beach

Well, we are back from spending a week on the coast, a whole whopping hour away from where we live!  It's awesome living in such a magnificent place!

I didn't pull out my camera the entire time I was there.  I tried to just enjoy the time with my boys.  I did keep my phone handy, so I can show you a few shots of my cute boys - even if they aren't the best photos.

We rode beach bikes, they are so much fun.

Do you love Lincoln's beard?  He is going to be an extra in a film about one of his ancestors and he has to look like a wild mountain man.  I think he's got it down, don't you think?

This was the first year that John Henry could ride a beach bike.  He had a ball.  Leo, on the other hand, was very frustrated that he couldn't do it too and did his best to thwart his big brother's fun.

He ended up being pretty happy just sitting on one and letting us push him around a little bit.  Do you like his hat?  It's his current two year old obsession.  He LOVES wearing that hat.  I expect we will have six months of photos featuring the 2009 Old Navy Hat.

We made Star Spangled Soda.  It looked cool and tasted horrible, but the kids thought it was awesome.  Instructions on how to do it can be found on BabyCenter (of all places?)   Thank you Pinterest

We did cyanotypes with the kids.  They were amazed.  It is pretty cool project.

We let the boys ride a merry-go-around.  Leo wasn't too sure about it at first.

But he warmed up to it.

John Henry is a huge fan.

And by the end they were both all smiles.  Isn't childhood wonderful?

There was a lot of Ice Cream consumed, running, swimming, sand castle building, and fun.  The best part is, we don't have to wait until next year to do it again!  We were thinking we might go back for the day in a week or two.  ;)  For the time being, it's back to the grind stone for me.  I've got SO MUCH work to get done.
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