Friday, January 29, 2010

Rein in Your Fears...Paint Your Furniture

Last week I showed you the twin beds I had started painting black and had just started painting the spindles in jewel tones...


This week I finished painting all the spindles and snapped a few photos along the way to give you an idea of what it takes to get from the original stained finish to a chippy painted finish.

After painting the spindles ...and you will see, that I didn't have to go to much trouble keeping the lines straight...I got my black paint back out and painted another coat over everything. I almost wished I had done a bang up job and was able to leave them this way...but I had plans and was excited to see the result.

After all was solid black again I sanded off just enough paint with my hand sander to allow some of the color to peep through and in some places I got down to the bare wood. In keeping with my old chippy theme I aged the newly painted and sanded foot board with a coat of burnt sienna, left it for a few minutes and wiped off the excess.

 You will notice a big difference in the area that is aged...much richer.

The trick is knowing how long to leave the burnt sienna on before wiping it away. Too soon and it's like you did nothing, too long and it's just another coat of paint. 
I like to add a couple of coats of acrylic poly to make the color pop and to protect the wood...not that a few bumps would hurt it now.

It's hard to see the detail in this tiny photo but you can double click for the larger view.

I realize a lot of people in my business would have thought the beds in their original condition were treasures just as they were...and I do agree...but I can not leave well enough alone when I get an idea...and I really like them better painted, chipped and looking like there may be a story that goes with them. 

You will be seeing them again in the shop this Spring and here again on the blog when I get far enough along to show you display photos.

Want to learn to paint your own chippy furniture or frames? I will be offering workshops this summer here at the studio...upstairs above the shop. Stay tuned for details...or go ahead and let me know if you are interested and we will try to set up dates. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Another Giveaway...

...but it's not mine...It's Flea Market Style's. You remember, the new magazine that will be on newstands in February.

There are ten signed and numbered rose prints up for grabs. If you are a winner, it will arrive to you in a 5x7 acrylic frame; or you can frame it in your favourite flea market frame!

The print is a beautiful souvenir of the magazine and the fresh take on vintage beauty they pride themselves on delivering. To enter, hop over to their blog and leave a comment.

On another note...I am busy in the studio this week up to my elbows in old furniture and paint. I hope to have photos up here by the end of the week. I'm really excited about the little twin beds I showed you last Friday.
Super cute!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Winner of our January Giveaway is...

Kristi Taylor from Vintage Window Congratulations!

We will have another giveaway in February. 

Watch for the announcement 2/1/10.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trailer Trash

This week I've been in the container dragging out a few things that were closest to the, picture frames and a couple of Jenny Lind twin beds. When I look in there I'm overwhelmed at all the things that need to be sorted through and all I can figure is that I just have to jump in and it will all come together by May.

I have cleaned all the costume jewelry that I've found so far and sorted and stored the newly cleaned pieces in eleven different egg cartons...some with a dozen slots and some with eighteen. Then, there are a couple of large mailing envelopes full of odds and ends that could be used for crafts maybe....

Bizillions of necklaces of all kinds...long beads, short beads, chunky stones, chokers, chains, faux name it, I've got it.

 A large portion of it is Sarah Coventry. This is the only set I found still in it's packaging. It's dated 1961. My grandmother used to sell Sarah Coventry jewelry part-time in the 60's and 70's and I still have some of my bracelets she gave me.

I've had a lot of fun looking at all the costume pieces and wondering where the heck you would wear some of these sweet little bees.

There were several picture frames and a couple of mirror frames gathered in one area. I am going to hold off on the mirror frames thinking they possibly go with something farther back in the trailer. I have prints that will work with these and I have selected new finishes to compliment the prints.

I ran across this Levi's ad from 1966 and thought it would be fun to frame. I always loved illustration art and learned to draw from copying pictures from books and magazines. The frame will be an aged black, actually not far from it's original state...but cleaned up considerably and given a protective finish. I'm thinking a white mat...

The other two will get a painted honey finish. They too, will be aged to compliment the prints, which now looks like a couple of Charles Russell prints I've had for a while.

I don't have "befores" of these. I just jumped in there when the mood struck and started painting. They came from my shopping trip a couple of weeks ago and I thought I'd just throw them in this post since we were talking about frames.

I know you remember this style with the dips in the sides....brown with gold inside the rim. I painted them off white, changed the gold to red and then painted over that with off white, speckled some red with a tooth brush and distressed them. They have a couple coats of water-based poly to give them a little pop.

They are ready to send to my sister tomorrow so she can mat and frame the Russell prints going in them.

I found these on ebay several years ago and have been saving them for the shop I knew I'd have some day.

From the same shopping trip...I liked the look of the peaceful pastoral lithograph print and the frame was nice enough so I bought it. I took it apart this week to clean the frame and glass and when I took the print out...

...there was another one underneath it. It's titled The Departure. I didn't get all of it in my picture, but there is a waiting carriage for the "happy couple". It's an interesting print and you can only imagine what the mother is telling her newlywed daughter as they go down the stairs. But,

What's the deal with the shoe? Hmmm.

Okay, back to the container...and we have these girls. I think I will clean this up and leave it as it is. Maybe there is another photo behind this one too.

The frame is pretty...the baby is cute, but the mat needs help. We'll see what evolves here. I'm seeing an empty frame so far.

And finally the Jenny Lind twin beds. I have the headboards and foot boards. I found side rails for one and feel like there really should be another pair in there somewhere. All along I've been thinking white.

By yesterday afternoon I was seeing them in black in a boys room. And today....

I knew I couldn't let all those different sections go to waste so I got out my favorite colors and went to town. I am adding some more red and white tomorrow and then I will paint over all of it again with black. Just like the white frames, I will sand just enough paint off to let the color peep through. I can see these in a little boy's room with Pendelton blankets and a Chimayo rug...or a floorcloth that looks like one.

Check in with me next week for the finished products and to see what I drag out of the trailer next.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rules or Lessons? The Cowgirl Creed

So what's with the rules? If you came here by way of our Facebook Fan Page you probably know what I'm talking about. For the last week I've been posting random rules on my status with a sentence or two relating to the rule...about design, art or decorating...or real life.

So far we have:

1. Dare to be a cowgirl...or cowboy. Blaze your own trail. Make 2010 your year to kick up some dust!

2. Buck the rules! Who says your upholstered furniture should be matchy-matchy? Recover your old sofa with 2 fabrics -maybe one being leather or your grandmother's English wing-back in a Pendleton Blanket....just sayin'.

3. Stay balanced in the saddle....splurge for that antique mission oak recliner you love and for the finishing touch, rein back in on the budget with a perfectly wonderful vintage print for mere pennies from a second hand shop.

4. Ride the trail of adventure. Get out of your comfort zone in 2010 and be the person you always wanted to be... or should we say, were intended to be.

5. Dream as big as Texas! If you can't imagine won't happen.

Do you see where we are going here?  The rules (the first sentence only) are from a really cool little book called Cowgirl Smarts How to Rope a Kick-Ass Life by Ellen Reid Smith. The rules aren't really rules at all, they are lessons that make up the cowgirl creed. There are seventeen in all, and up until just a few years ago before the book was written they were just unspoken lessons that women have been passing down for over a hundred years. Ms. Reid felt like they needed to be documented, thus the book...which is a quick, but very good read.

Each chapter is based on one of the seventeen characteristics of wild west cowgirls, with stories of those very cowgirls from as far back as when they were called cowboy girls. First, let me say this isn't just a book for cowgirls and second let me say it isn't just for women, although it speaks loudly to me as a woman. It is easily applied to anyone's life be it man or woman with a few word changes.

I received an email a couple years ago from Ms. Reid telling me about her book and I was so intrigued that I bought two. One for me and one for my daughter as a Christmas gift. I read it straight through the first time and now keep it in my desk drawer for a quick shot of encouragement when needed.

I've taken the characteristics/rules/lessons -whatever you want to call them - and made them my own.  When you see them in my status on our Facebook Fan Page take it and make it your own as well. It may be just what you need for that particular day...or the next. Nevertheless, it's good stuff, whether you use it for personal or business matters.

So, now you know what all the hokey metaphores are about....

...and truth be known...I do have a kick-ass life!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Goofed!


As I sit her laughing at myself I'm wondering who else is laughing at me too? All last week I thought today was the day to choose the winner of the Give Away....

Well, it's NOT. It's next Monday. So...we will wait a week longer.

So sorry!  Just anxious I guess.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Footings Poured...check!

This is one of those PDQ posts I spoke about in the beginning of the blog, where on Fridays I'm just really busy busy and anything I post will be Posts Done Quickly. Hmmmm? What did you think I meant?

Anyhoo. The footings are now in and drying as we speak. Yay! Finally. School was out today, so I didn't have to help and was available to snap a few pictures.....

Now, I am starting to see the light. I am a wee bit closer to moving in my shop now as hubby is ready to lay the block for his.

Talk to you next week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Winter Alter

I call this my alter. It's not a religious thing. It's a ME thing. It is just inside our front door and changes with the seasons. I started doing this many years ago while reading the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. In this book, which is a daily reading for a year, Sarah writes about her "meditation table" where she displays things she loves and is inspired by, such as the Victorian lithograph of an angel representing her guardian angel and photos or candles.

Also, from another of my favorite authors, Julia Cameron, this practice is encouraged, even if it's only a window seal. She says, "In order to stay easily and happily creative, we need to stay spiritually centered. This is easier to do if we allow ourselves centering rituals. It is important that we devise these ourselves from elements that feel holy and happy to us."

On my alter the little tree stays lit all year. I had a lamp there for a while until I found the tree at a sweet little shop down the road. (Homethrown will have to visit! She's open Wed-Sat every week). The ornaments of course will change and sometimes I only leave the lights. The crystal tree was a gift from a special kid probably purchased from the dollar store and the crystal bowl, a wedding gift. The potpourri in the bowl smells like cinnamon favorite breakfast in winter. The deer are not only a nice touch but a reminder that even though they are pesty...and ate our entire garden last year...that they represent solidarity and that I should keep my relationships strong, honest and on good terms. And, lastly the painting, by one of my favorite western artists, Dyrk Godby...and it is an original...small, but original. The detail is incredible and inspires me to go the extra mile in my work as well. I'm not there yet, but working on it!

To balance the tree with the painting it needs a little lift and rather than get a taller tree I opted for giving it a boost with a compote bowl that was passed down by my grandmother. I love the juxtaposition of the rough burlap and glass. This is repeated again with the rustic deer (again from HTP) and glass tree and crystal bowl.

The book is just barely holding itself together and when it's not on display it is carefully wrapped in tissue and stored away in the cabinet beneath the table. I love it because the illustrations remind me of books my grandmother used to read to us when were would stay with her. She was my biggest inspiration for being creative.

Ads on the inside covers...

We use Pear soap now, 121 years later...and it was already 100 then?? Good stuff!

Inscription inside. Very sweet. It was the selling point for me. Someone needed to appreciate the sentiment even if it wasn't family. I give books often as gifts and always write something to the recipient.

I love my winter alter because I love the sparkle on the long nights. I can see it as I walk through the living room or when I sit on the sofa reading or watching TV. Early in the morning I will plug in the lights and it will be the only light as the sun comes up and while I am having coffee and my prayer time.

It's not too late this year to read Simple Abundance. I picked up so many useful things 10 + years ago and now as I re-read I'm finding that it stuck pretty well and life is good because of what I learned and began to practice then.

Do you have a special table, window seal, or even a shelf on a bookcase where you could make your own alter?

*One more thing...don't forget about our give away... leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing of the book Junk Chic. Follow the link and leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starting from Scratch...literally.

In my last post I mentioned a little reproduction project I was beginning. My customer recently purchased a piece of property with the old house still standing and in fairly good condition. The property and house was not only chosen for the family to use for family get-togethers, but also for it's historical value. The first owners inhabited it in the 1800's and the Mr. was a coffin maker. It remained in the family down through the generations and much of it's history was recorded and passed down as well. The new owner was fortunate to be able to work with the local museum and dig out loads of information.

My job was to take copies of 3 open pages of Mr. Workman's ledger and reproduce these so they can be framed with other artifacts from the business and be hung in the old homeplace.

I have worked with this customer's wife for more than 10 years making things look old, usually with paint. Paper was a challenge, but like most projects, "it" eventually came to me and it worked. Here's what I did...

I took his copy and scanned it to my computer.

My first thought was that I could get the old paper look with photo shop...

...and it really wasn't too far off printed onto beige cardstock that I already had. My first idea was to use watercolor to age it, but it wasn't as realistic as I'd imagined. I also thought I could use my caligraphy pens to trace over the original script. They too, couldn't give me the look I needed. So...that's when I headed out for parchment paper and a dip pen.

Learning to use the pen was fun. My son picked it up while I was cooking supper one night and scribbled his name as good or better than I was doing. Why didn't I think of this when we were homeschooling?

When I had decided my penmanship looked better than chicken scratch, I made many attempts to copy the documents. Just like the old days of Junior High term papers...if you make a mistake in ink, you must start over. But, all in all, the dip pen worked perfectly to duplicate the ink pattern of both thick and thin areas of ink in each word. It's much darker I'm sure than the original, but since it will be behind glass it will make reading easy for observers.

Finally, in the last few minutes of the inking "it" came to me from where ever it is that "it" always does, that I could use colored pencils to age the paper more and to mark the lines on the paper. It was the easiest part of the entire process...except for the ink spills, finger prints and misspelled words...hey, they were on the original.

page 1

 page 2
page 3
And finally, it was finished, and in the mail. I have already learned something new this year and have a little more experience in making something new look old.

Just my two cents....

What have you learned already this year?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday's Thrifty Find

Is it really Thursday already? This first week back to work since all the holiday hoopla has flown by. I have an art project that was due weeks ago that hasn't gone very well. Actually, it's not art specifically, but reproduction of some documents. Had I been thinking I'd have asked for the originals, and photo-shopped in old paper and called it finished. But, no. I said, "yes, I can make them look just like the originals -by hand." Did you hear my voice go up? That's what I do when I have no idea of what I'm talking about. So instead I came home with photo copies of the documents and copies of samples of old paper to duplicate. Why me?

At any rate, with lots of trial and error this week, I figured out what I did and didn't have and trapsed off to Hobby Lobby for a real dip pen, some ink and aged parchment. Before I got within 2 miles of the store it hit me that there are two pretty good thrift shops right on the way. My spirits were instantly lifted.

My first stop was very successful and I found my arms loaded before I'd been in there 10 minutes. I had to use a shopping cart to get all my treasures to the truck. This is the best time of year for thrifting...clean out time at home.

The second stop looked like a bust until I noticed a dark display case in the middle of the store. Inside was a very large bowl, an iron frying pan, and some random baby rabbit planters. Not sure why they were locked up really? I asked about the bowl and playing it very cool asked if that was a firm price? $20 marked down from $30. "Well," she said, "It's already been marked down since Christmas" I looked a little disappointed, I guess and then she said to me, "Well, it does have a little crack and nobody will pay $20 for it with a crack." So, I left with the bowl for $15 and since I'm probably adding it to my tiny (and growing) collection of Watt pottery, I'm not going to complain too much about the price. It's a #39 spaghetti bowl. It will just be another dust collector at our spaghetti will be served from this one.

Added to the others on top of the corner cupboard in the dining room.

Can you tell that I like red?

The other goodies are for the shop...several frames that I will re-paint, an old pastoral print, a set of very cool and very cute dishes from the 60's I believe, a little piece of English china with a hunt scene, a basket, some Christmas stuff and a little red suit case. No pictures yet of the goodies; they will remain hidden away until the open house.

To see where the other Watt pieces came from see this post: Cold and Chilly, a Good Day for Beans.

Oh, and sign up for our January Giveaway! Click here to for the details.

Happy Thrifting!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's Almost Here

I haven't had much time this week to visit any of my favorite blogs yet. I hope to catch up later in the week, but I did notice yesterday when I scrolled through the ones I follow that Ki at Flea Market Style has a sneek peek of their magazine of the same name. It looks wonderful and now we, the 970 followers, are all too excited that she's given a date for kick off. February 25th. That will be here before we know it!

In case you don't know....

Flea Market Style is a new a 146 page newsstand magazine, chock full of vintage-style decorating, projects, collecting tips, special features and more. Co-editors are Ki Nassauer, and  Matthew Mead with  Linda MacDonald editor-at-large.  

I encourage you to take a look at their blog if you haven't already...I know you will be inspired. I surely am!

Oh, and one more thing...don't forget about our give away. I announced it only yesterday and will pick a winner on January 25th. Click here for all the details.